Derby boss Wayne Rooney ‘flattered’ by Everton link

Rooney’s name has been in the frame following the sacking of Rafael Benitez.

Jamie Gardner
Friday 21 January 2022 14:13
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Wayne Rooney is flattered by speculation linking him with the vacant manager’s job at Everton but says his focus is on Derby (Barrington Coombs/PA)
Wayne Rooney is flattered by speculation linking him with the vacant manager’s job at Everton but says his focus is on Derby (Barrington Coombs/PA)

Derby boss Wayne Rooney says he is “flattered” to be linked with the Everton vacancy but says there has been no approach from the Merseyside club.

The 36-year-old former Toffees striker has been linked with the job following Rafael Benitez’s dismissal.

The ex-England international’s stock has risen after keeping the Rams in contention for survival in the Championship despite being docked 21 points for entering administration and breaching financial regulations.

Rooney said: “I’m the same as everyone else, I see the speculation on social media and in the newspapers. Of course Everton is a club I grew up supporting.

“I’m flattered to get brought up in those conversations, but I know Everton know that to have any communication with me they have to go through the administrators.”

Rooney’s ties to Everton run deep. He joined the club as a nine-year-old and made his first-team debut aged 16 in 2002, before moving on to Manchester United two years later.

He rejoined Everton for the 2017-18 season.

Other young managers, such as his England team-mate Frank Lampard, have found it hard to resist the call of a former club, even when it has come early on in their managerial career.

Rooney agreed that “everyone loves a fairytale” but insisted his focus was on Derby’s clash with bitter local rivals Nottingham Forest on Saturday lunchtime.

The Rams are eight points from safety heading into the clash at the City Ground and he said: “I must treat this game with the utmost respect.”

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