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It was ‘difficult’ to turn down approach for Everton job, Wayne Rooney admits

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Derby manager Wayne Rooney, who has said he turned down the opportunity to be interviewed for the vacant position at his former club Everton. Credit: PA

Derby manager Wayne Rooney, who has said he turned down the opportunity to be interviewed for the vacant position at his former club Everton. Credit: PA

Derby manager Wayne Rooney, who has said he turned down the opportunity to be interviewed for the vacant position at his former club Everton. Credit: PA

Wayne Rooney has revealed he rejected an approach from Everton after reaffirming his commitment to financially stricken Derby County.

Rooney’s representative was approached by Everton for a potential interview and the former England captain admitted the prospect of managing his boyhood club left him with a “difficult decision” to make.

After making his debut for the club as a 16-year-old, and then going on to appear 117 times for them in two separate spells, Rooney was identified as a leading candidate to succeed Rafael Benitez, who was sacked earlier this month.

Rooney is impressing in the Championship despite Derby’s precarious plight. The club are in administration and still facing the threat of liquidation. But the 36-year-old has admitted he had no intention of quitting Derby as they fight for their future, and declined the opportunity to speak with the Everton board.

“Everton approached my agent and asked me to do an interview for the vacant job, which I turned down,” Rooney said. “My agent let the administrators know as well, and of course it was a very difficult decision for me, but that’s where we’re at.

“As I’ve said, I believe that I will be a Premier League manager and I believe I’m ready for that, 100 per cent. If that is Everton one day in the future, that would be absolutely great but I’ve got a job here which is an important job to me. That means me getting the team ready for Sunday [against Birmingham].”

Rooney has performed brilliantly this season under severe restrictions, and the club are still in contention to pull off an unlikely escape from relegation despite sustaining a 21-point deduction.

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Although limited by a transfer embargo, Derby have lost only once in their past six league matches and are only eight points adrift of fourth-from-bottom Reading.

Derby’s future remains under threat, though the Football League has granted them a month’s extension to provide proof of funds that the club can finish the season.

Rooney said: “The stuff off the field is out of my control and we all want reassurances that this club can move forward. People really need to be sensible on this because I think it’s getting out of hand.” 

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]


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