Rooney at centre of pundit tug-of-war – but doesn’t want to be ‘next Neville’
Wayne Rooney recently quit as manager of Derby County and is now being tipped for a job as a TV pundit, but the Manchester United legend is keen to avoid following former teammate Gary Neville’s path
Wayne Rooney is reportedly at the centre of a tug-of-war involving multiple broadcast companies following his decision to quit Derby County.
The 35-year-old left his post as Rams boss on Friday amid the club’s uncertain future, with a recent takeover plot from Chris Kirchner collapsing after weeks of strife. Rooney is currently enjoying a family holiday in Ibiza, as exclusively reported by The Mirror, but will return home to questions surrounding his future in football.
While the Manchester United legend is likely to have plenty of offers to go back in the dugout as a result of his sterling efforts as Derby manager over the past 18 months, television bigwigs are also vying for his signature. The Sun claim that in the wake of his departure from Pride Park, Rooney is wanted by Sky Sports and BT Sport to become a regular pundit for Premier League and Champions League matches.
The English icon, still the nation’s all-time top goalscorer at international level, previously dipped his toe into punditry with two appearances Sky’s Monday Night Football in 2018 and earlier this year. Although dubbed a ‘natural fit’ to star alongside former United pal Gary Neville and ex- England teammate Jamie Carragher thanks to his insightful analysis and witty banter, insiders add that going abroad could be an option, with his superstar status expected to bring in viewers around the world.
More immediately, however, UK TV behemoths BBC and ITV and hoping to snap the Evertonian up ahead of this winter’s World Cup in Qatar. According to the report, though, Rooney wants to maintain his reputation as a promising coach, keen not to repeat Neville’s path of one job as a manager before settling on making himself a staple of screens across the country.
Neville infamously spent less than four months as boss of Spanish side Valencia before returning to Sky – and occasionally ITV – six years ago. Rooney, on the other hand, remains fresh out of work, with his decision to leave Derby being announced on Friday. Having failed survive in the Championship last season after being deducted a total of 21 points for their well-documented financial woes, it will be former assistant Liam Rosenior in the hot seat for the club’s first campaign in the third tier of English football in 65 years.
“Today I met with the administrators to inform them of my decision that it was time for me to leave the club. In fairness to them, they tried tremendously hard to change my decision but my mind was made up,” Rooney wrote in a lengthy statement. “My time at the club has been a rollercoaster of emotions, both highs and lows, but I have to say that I have enjoyed the challenge.
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“Personally, I feel the club now needs to be led by someone with fresh energy and not affected by the events that have happened over the last eighteen months. I will remember my time at Derby with great pride and affection and would like to thank all my staff, players and of course the fans for their incredible support.
“I will never forget you and hope to see you all again in the near future and in happier times. Finally, I am aware that the club still have interested parties who wish to take over the running of the club. To them I say this, Derby County is a great club with a great history and great fans. I wish you all the best and much success for the future.”
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