Wayne Rooney has retired from playing after being appointed Derby County manager on a permanent basis.
The 35-year-old retires as the all-time leading goalscorer for both Manchester United and England.
Rooney has been acting as interim manager at Derby since the end of November, but has now taken the job permanently on a two-and-a-half-year contract.
Rooney said: «When I first arrived back in the United Kingdom I was completely blown away by the potential of Derby County Football Club. The stadium, training ground, the quality of the playing staff and the young players coming through and of course the fan base that has remained loyal and supportive.
«Despite other offers, I knew instinctively Derby County was the place for me.
«To be given the opportunity to follow the likes of Brian Clough, Jim Smith, Frank Lampard and Phillip Cocu is such an honour and I can promise everyone involved in the club and all our fans, my staff and I will leave no stone unturned in achieving the potential I have witnessed over the last 12 months of this historic football club.»
Rooney scored 253 goals in 559 appearances for Manchester United and won five Premier League titles, along with one Champions League and one Europa League crown during his time at Old Trafford.
He scored 53 goals in 120 appearances for his country.
Rooney began his career at Everton and rejoined the club from United in 2017 before a brief spell in the MLS with DC United from where he joined Derby last year.
The decision to appoint Rooney has been made jointly by Derby’s current owner, Mel Morris, and the prospective owner Sheikh Khaled.
Liam Rosenior, Shay Given, and Justin Walker will retain their positions on Rooney’s coaching staff. while Steve McClaren will continue the duties of technical director and advisor to the board of directors.
Derby CEO Stephen Pearce added: «We are delighted to confirm the appointment of Wayne Rooney as our new manager.
«Our recent upturn in results under Wayne was married together with some positive performances, notably the 2-0 home win over Swansea City and the 4-0 victory at Birmingham City.
«During that nine-game run we also dramatically improved their defensive record and registered five clean sheets in the process, while in the attacking third we became more effective and ruthless too.
«Those foundations have provided a platform for the club to build on in the second half of the season under Wayne’s guidance.»
Rooney’s first game as permanent manager will be on Saturday at home to Rotherham at Pride Park.
It has been a time of turmoil for Derby, with the senior first-team players still waiting for their December wages to be paid.
The protracted takeover by Khaled is still not complete, while the training ground was closed for over a week while almost the entire first team was forced to self-isolate because of a coronavirus outbreak.
But the Derby bosses hope this decision will bring some much-needed stability to the team.
Rooney’s record as interim boss has been impressive. When he took sole charge, Derby had won just one of their first 13 games of the 2020/21 season.
Since then, the first team has lost just twice in nine matches, and they can move out of the Championship relegation places with a win against Rotherham on Saturday.
Rooney has managed to shore up a leaky defence, Derby having conceded just two goals in their last seven league games.
Sky Sports News has been told what has most impressed the decision-makers at the club is how he has galvanised the squad, and how Rooney has cultivated a team spirit, which they feel has been lacking for most of the season.
Asked if he was setting any targets, he told his first press conference as permanent manager: «I think first of all we just have to take it game by game.
«It’s what we’ve been doing over the last couple of months and I don’t think there’s any need to change what we’ve been doing in terms of our preparation.
«In terms of our day to day business [that] will stay the same.
«I think it’s an exciting time for the staff, for the players as well.
«It’s great for them to have some clarity on who the boss is full-time, so I think it’s a big moment in the season for us at the football club.»
The transfer window is open and Rooney added: «At the minute I need to put players forward who I would like to bring in.
«If that’s doable, great, if not I have got different plans on different ways of working in the transfer window.
«I think, as everybody knows, the last week of the transfer window in January is very important.
«So I’ve got plans in place which I’ve had in place for the last few weeks – if we can get some of those players in towards the end of January, then that would be great.»
Rooney ‘wouldn’t change anything’ after ending playing career
Regarding his retirement, Rooney said: «Normally this happens at the end of a season and normally as a player you’d have time to reflect on it, but for me it has obviously happened during the season.
«I think the last couple of months have helped break that in and, for me, it has given me time to sit down and think about that.
«As I said a few weeks ago, my future I feel is in management. I’ve had a great career, I’ve enjoyed every minute.
«Some ups, some downs but I wouldn’t change anything I’ve done in my career as a player and hopefully now I can start to write some history and make a successful managerial career.
«It’s natural [to miss things about being a player].
«I’m very fortunate that I’m staying around football and I’m still going into the dressing room, not with the players but with the staff and it’s a different buzz.
«It’s a different buzz when you stand on the touchline and you win a game or when you put a plan in place that the players execute. It’s a new chapter for me.
«If you will ask whether I will miss playing then of course, every player misses it, but time doesn’t stop.
«I’ve had my time, it’s the time now of this younger generation coming through, and it’s about guiding them to be better players.»