Manchester United and England soccer legend Wayne Rooney has returned to England as the new manager of Birmingham City.
“Wayne Rooney has been appointed as the new manager of Birmingham City,” the English Championship (Division Two) club announced on the club’s official website on Monday (Nov. 11). “We are delighted to announce that we have agreed terms with Rooney on a three-and-a-half-year contract to take charge of the club.”
Rooney is a former England international striker who played a key role in Manchester United’s golden era and was one of the club’s all-time greatest strikers, scoring 253 goals and providing 134 assists in 559 games during a 13-year career at the club.
His stellar performances for the club continued with the England national soccer team. Rooney was the most capped player in England’s history with 53 caps until Harry Kane (Bayern Munich) broke the record in March with his 54th cap.
Rooney retired from playing in 2021 and turned to coaching. Rooney began his coaching career as a player-manager with English Championship side Derby County in the 2019/20 season, where he was successful in keeping the club in the second tier through the 2020/21 season.
However, in the following season, 2021/22, the club’s issues came to a head and 21 points were deducted from their points tally, and despite Rooney’s efforts, Derby County were relegated to the third tier, League One. After leaving the club at the end of the season, Rooney was appointed manager of DC United in the American Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2022/23, but the club finished last in the league in his first season. He showed promise in the new season in 2023, leading the team to the playoffs, but the team ultimately failed to make the playoffs and Rooney was relieved of his duties on July 7 following a feud with Boardman.
It was Birmingham who approached Rooney after his departure from DC United. Currently sixth in the league with 18 points (W5 D3 L3), Birmingham sacked manager John Eustace and handed the reins to Rooney in a bid for promotion to the Premier League.
Upon announcing Rooney’s appointment, Birmingham co-owner Tom Wagner told the club’s website, “Rooney is a natural winner. We believe he will take Birmingham to the next level and his footballing philosophy will help us realize the ambitions we have set for Birmingham,” he said.
“Rooney has been preparing for an opportunity like this since he began his coaching education as a player at Manchester United, and he and his staff have the full support of everyone at Birmingham, including the Board of Directors.”
Birmingham CEO Gary Cook added: “We are delighted with Rooney’s arrival. When you have the opportunity to appoint a match professional who shares your ambitions, you have to act. “We are confident that Rooney’s appointment will culminate in a young, attack-minded team that will excite our fans.”
“I’m delighted to be joining Birmingham at such an exciting time, it’s clear they have a plan and are committed to realizing the club’s ambitions,” said Rooney. “Our expectations are completely aligned. “Our expectations are completely aligned. I’ve built my career in a challenging environment to prepare for this opportunity. This is a project that gives me a sense of purpose and I can’t wait to get started,” he said.
“We have some exciting young players in the squad, some experienced professionals and some who have yet to break into the first team,” he added, “I have a clear idea of how I want to play and I will work hard to implement it. We will create a winning culture with a spirit that gets Birmingham fans on their feet,” he promised.
“When I’ve been to Birmingham in the past, the fans have always been loud and passionate for their team. It’s a really difficult place to play away from home and now we get to experience what it’s like to have the fans behind us. My job is to take the club to the next level and I can’t wait to get started.”
In taking charge of Birmingham, Rooney has turned to his old teammates for support. Former Arsenal and Chelsea full-back Ashley Cole, now an assistant coach with the England U-21s, and former Man United teammate John O’Shea, now an assistant coach with the Ireland national team, have accepted positions on the Birmingham coaching staff to assist Rooney. Both coaches will retain their current roles with the national team.안전놀이터
Coaches Carl Robinson and Pete Shuttleworth, who have been with the club since his days at DC United, have also been called up by Rooney to join the Birmingham staff and begin preparing to lead the club alongside Rooney.
Meanwhile, Rooney’s appointment is not without controversy. Under the previous manager, Birmingham had been on a decent run, finishing sixth in the table and in line for promotion to the top flight next season.
“John Eustace has done well since taking over at Birmingham last summer, guiding the club to sixth place in the league, but Birmingham’s new owners, Nighthawk Capital, are big fans of Rooney,” the Mirror reported, “and are keen to bring a former star player and manager to the club.” Birmingham’s goal is to have an icon of English soccer like Rooney at the helm, which is why they sacked a decent manager.