Wayne Rooney wants no star treatment at Derby
Rooney ineligible to feature until New Year, but says he is "ready to play" and "frustrated" on the sidelines
Last Updated: 13/12/19 7:11pm
Wayne Rooney hopes his Derby team-mates will cast aside any preconceptions they may have and treat him like any other member of the squad.
The former Manchester United and Everton striker, who agreed a deal to join Derby as a player-coach on an 18-month contract back in August, arrives at Pride Park having won 16 major trophies.
But Rooney hopes his previous success will not change the way he is viewed in the dressing room.
"I'm another person, I've played at the top level which maybe a lot of them haven't," said Rooney, England and United's all-time record scorer.
"But I think once they get to know me, and they get to see me as part of the team, then everything they might have thought about me goes out of the window and they see me for what I am - a normal guy and just one of the team-mates."
Rooney has spent the last three games in the dugout with his new club following his arrival from MLS club DC United.
But he is unable to feature for the Rams until the New Year with the visit of Barnsley to Pride Park on January 2 the first game he will be eligible to play in.
"It's obviously frustrating training throughout the week and not being able to play," said the 34-year-old.
"Training the day before a game is the worst day as the players don't do too much so it's been one-on-one with the fitness coach today.
"It's frustrating because I am ready to play. I've just really been topping up my fitness and ticking things over since (leaving America) and if the game was tomorrow I would be able to play."
'A new, mature Rooney'
Analysis from Sky Sports News reporter Rob Dorsett...
There's still a unique aura around Wayne Rooney. A road accident on the Derby ring-road caused a 30-minute delay to his news conference, which only added to the sense of expectation among the thronged media.
He may be 34, but when he walked into the room, you couldn't help remembering what this man could do at his peak. This is England's all-time record goalscorer sitting in the media room of Championship club Derby County.
He was relaxed, open and smiling for much of his 14-minute news conference. This is a new, mature Rooney - one who's comfortable in his own skin, and who knows the direction of travel in his career.
He stated categorically that he does want to be a manager, but he's not yet ready to hang up his boots. He says he feels fit and ready to play tomorrow, if he was allowed to. Though what position he will play in this Derby team is yet to be decided.
He's been involved in meetings with the club coaches, and said he's given his opinion on tactical matters. Before he's even kicked a ball in the Championship, Rooney's influence has already spread beyond the training pitch, the changing room, the manager's office and into the Pride Park stands, where the hope and expectation of the fans is obvious.
Derby are desperate for the same Rooney bounce that DC United enjoyed in the MLS: 12 goals in his first 19 matches propelled them from the bottom of the Eastern Conference to the play-offs. Rooney thinks a similar turnaround is possible here.
With the Championship so tight, 16th-placed Derby only 8 points off the top six, and Rooney's undoubted quality to add in January, you wouldn't bet against it.