Rediff.com  » Sports » Soccer Extras: Rooney to return home as Derby player-coach in January 2020

Soccer Extras: Rooney to return home as Derby player-coach in January 2020

Last updated on: August 06, 2019 20:26 IST

Derby said the 33-year-old Rooney had signed an initial 18-month contract with the option of another year and would also work as a coach with the first team and academy.

Wayne Rooney

IMAGE: DC United forward Wayne Rooney looks on. Photograph: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Wayne Rooney will join Derby County in January from MLS side DC United, with the former England captain set to continue his playing career while working towards his goal of becoming a manager, the Championship club said on Tuesday.

 

In a major coup for the second-tier club, Derby said the 33-year-old Rooney had signed an initial 18-month contract with the option of another year and would also work as a coach with the first team and academy.

"I'm very excited about the opportunity that Derby County have provided me with," former Manchester United and Everton striker Rooney said in a statement on Derby's website.

"I'm looking forward to joining (manager) Phillip Cocu, his coaching staff and the first-team from the start of January. I'm sure I can make a big contribution... I'm equally excited to begin my coaching career."

Rooney, who had two years left on his contract at DC United, said he was fully focused on giving his all for the club in the remainder of the season and hoped to deliver an MLS Cup.

"My time in MLS is something I'll always be proud of... while the decision to move home was a tough one, family is everything to us and we make this change to be closer to the ones we love back in England," he said.

Rooney, both England and Manchester United's leading all-time goalscorer, becomes the latest member of the so-called "Golden Generation" of national squad players to take their first steps towards management. He will be following in the footsteps of the likes of Derby's former boss Frank Lampard and Rangers manager Steven Gerrard.

Lampard has since taken over at his old club Chelsea, having guided Derby to the playoff final last season.

"First and foremost, Wayne is joining us as a player but he will also have coaching responsibilities too," Derby owner Mel Morris added.

"The commercial opportunities this creates are widespread and significant. On the back of Wayne joining the club, we have been offered a record-breaking sponsorship deal with our principal shirt sponsor, 32Red."

Morris said earlier that Rooney's discussions with Cocu had convinced him to make the switch.

Rooney was an admirer of Louis van Gaal's coaching methods at Manchester United and believes Cocu can provide a similar learning experience.

"I'm looking forward to working with Wayne... it's an exciting prospect for him to be joining Derby and he can bring so much to this squad, both on and off the pitch," Cocu said.

"His credentials speak for themselves. But to have a player with his leadership, skill, experience, character and work ethic will be huge for us."

 

'Maguire must live with the price tag pressure'

Harry Maguire

IMAGE: Maguire as the most expensive defender in world football. Photograph: Ed Sykes/Reuters

Harry Maguire will come under the microscope like never before after his 80 million pounds move to Manchester United made him the world’s most expensive defender and Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk says he must focus on his game and tune out the noise if he is to handle the pressure.

Van Dijk preceded Maguire as the most expensive defender in world football when he joined Liverpool for 75 million pounds in 2018 before United eclipsed that mark for the former Leicester City centre back on Monday.

Dutch international Van Dijk told British media the price tag was not something Maguire had any influence over but there would be no escaping the attention it would bring.

“The price comes with pressure but it doesn’t change too much because you always have pressure at big clubs like Man United,” he said.

“It’s not easy to completely shut off all the pressure.”

Van Dijk has been a transformative presence for Liverpool since joining the Merseyside club from Southampton, helping them win the Champions League last season and take the Premier League title race down to the wire.

He said being able to keep things in perspective had helped him cope with the price tag and the odd wind-up from opponents.

“Quite a lot of things are more important than playing football,” the 28-year-old added. “You need to enjoy it but the pressure will always be there."

“Just focus on doing what you love to do and play your best game. Get your qualities out on the pitch, enjoy your game and don’t think about the other things."

“If opponents have a go during the game because you cost that much, what can you do? I’m not listening to them. It does not change anything in my head.”

Liverpool kick off their league campaign at home to promoted Norwich City on Friday, while United host Chelsea on Sunday

Palace add experience at the back with Cahill capture

Crystal Palace have signed former England and Chelsea centre back Gary Cahill on a free transfer ahead of the new season, the Premier League club have said.

The 33-year-old was released by Chelsea at the end of last season after seven-and-a-half years at Stamford Bridge, where he won two Premier League titles, as well as the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup.

The experienced defender, who has made 349 Premier League appearances and earned 61 caps for England, has signed a two-year deal with Palace and said he had no intention of hanging up his boots any time soon.

"I'm hungry to prolong my career as long as I possibly can – I feel like I'm in great shape and whoever I play for, I'd like to think that I give it 110% and leave everything out there," Cahill said in a statement on Palace's website here

A regular for Chelsea since signing for the club in 2012, Cahill made only two league appearances last season but is likely to get far more game time at Palace.

“I’m delighted that Gary has joined us,” Palace manager Roy Hodgson said. “He’s a fantastic footballer who brings a wealth of international and Premier League experience."

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