Wayne Rooney excited to begin Derby County chapter as player-coach
Last Updated: 29/11/19 11:33am
Wayne Rooney says he is eager to begin his new “challenge” at Derby as he prepares to make his return to English football.
The former England and Manchester United captain agreed to join the Championship club as player-coach on an 18-month contract in August.
Rooney, who spent one-and-a-half seasons at DC United in MLS after leaving Everton in summer 2018, cannot play for Derby until January.
I have watched the Championship my whole career so I know what to expect in that aspect
The 34-year-old is set to be in the dugout alongside Rams boss Phillip Cocu at Saturday's Championship game against QPR at Pride Park.
"It's obviously a challenge, of course," Rooney told RamsTV.
"A new club, a new league which I haven't played in before.
"I have watched the Championship my whole career so I know what to expect in that aspect. It's great to be back in the dressing room, back around the banter amongst the lads.
"It will be a good month in terms of getting to know the players and trying to have some sort of input."
Rooney, who was at Derby's training complex earlier this month, says he is now involved with the squad "full-time" and determined to be in contention to feature against Barnsley on January 2.
Derby, who lost in the play-off final last season, have won their last five home league games but are without an away victory since the opening game of the season.
Asked about the club's form, he said: "Mixed bag, really. I think our home form has been really good. Our away form not so great.
"I think if we can try and pick up a few more points… we will take any points at the minute away from home. That would be great and it would really help us.
"Just try and bit more consistent in terms of getting results. I feel if we can win two or three games on the bounce that would put us in a good position and obviously help us get a lot closer to the play-off spots."
Derby vs Sheff Wed
December 11, 2019, 7:40pm
Cocu said in midweek it will be a big boost to have Rooney alongside him this weekend and England's record goalscorer is already looking forward to building a strong rapport with the fans.
"It will be nice to get to Pride Park and meet the supporters. For the fans it will be good also," Rooney said.
"It has been a long time since it was announced that I had joined the club."
He added: "I have heard them at games singing my name. It is great for all of us. Hopefully it can give us a lift as a team and help us push on."