Wayne Rooney confirms his return to English football

Wayne Rooney is to return to English football as a player-coach at Derby County.

He described the opportunity as ‘too great for me to turn down’.

The former England captain told reporters that playing for the Championship side was his initial priority, but he had ‘always’wanted to be a manager.

He said: ‘First of all I’m a player. I’ve got a lot of quality I can bring to the squad.

‘It’s football, it’s what I’ve done all my life, and it’s what I love.

‘Until my body says I can’t do it anymore, I’ll keep doing it.’

The former England captain, 33, will join Derby from Washington-based DC United in January as a player-coach.

Speculation that Rooney was about to make a move stepped up a notch two days ago, when his wife Coleen tweeted confirming she was in the area with their children.

The man who gave him his first opportunity in international football, ex-England boss Sven Goran Eriksson, was delighted by the news.

He said: ‘I’m surprised of course but well done Derby!

‘I think Rooney will be a very good coach and manager in the future. Rooney’s a football man, a genius football man.

‘He’s very, very clever when you talk about football, tactics, organisation, how to play and how to train. He was always extremely professional in training, the first on the pitch and the last to leave.

‘Rooney had so many good managers and coaches in his life, so I think he will have picked up things here and there.’

Rooney announced his retirement from international football in 2017.

He then left Everton and joined the Washington-based team D.C United in July 2018.