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Rooney done playing (for now), will serve solely as interim manager

Joe Prince-Wright, Nick Mendola and Andy Edwards take stock of the Premier League title race after Matchweek 9 and discuss who they think will finish in the top four.

Wayne Rooney is set to take a step back from the “player” part of his dual-role position at Derby County as he focuses solely on managing the team in a more permanent, but still interim, manager’s position.

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A lot is happening at Derby County these days, and none of it appears to be at all calculated or well thought out.

A brief timeline of events:

  1. Nov. 14: Phillip Cocu is fired as manager; Wayne Rooney is installed as the “senior coaching figure” for an unspecified period of time.
  2. Nov. 21: Rooney’s first game as “senior coaching figure” is a 1-0 defeat to Bristol City; Rooney starts and plays 90 minutes.
  3. Nov. 25: Rooney’s second game in charge is a 3-0 defeat to Middlesbrough; Rooney starts the game in central midfield, pulls off the starting striker at halftime and moves himself up to the forward line, and plays 90 minutes.

That brings us to the events of Nov. 26 and Nov. 27: according to Sky Sports, lots of confusion has occurred with regards to training and match tactics, due to differing opinions coming from multiple voices on the coaching staff. As such, it was decided that Wayne Rooney would become the figurehead of the coaching staff and officially take charge of training and Saturday’s fixture against Wycombe Wanderers.

In the fashion of a truly chaotic club, which is precisely what Derby is at the moment, the players learned of Rooney’s new role — which will also see him remove himself from the teamsheet and focus solely on managing the team — on Sky Sports.

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According to Sky Sports, Wayne Rooney is prepared to announce his retirement in order to remove the interim tag from his position and take over as manager on a permanent basis. As yet, Derby’s ownership has not made a decision on who will replace Cocu, or even when such a decision might be made.

Either way, whoever takes over at Pride Park is inheriting a spectacular mess of a club — and a 24th-place, bottom-of-the-table one at that. Derby have won one of 13 EFL Championship games this season and have just six points. The Rams currently sit six points adrift of safety from relegation.

Follow @AndyEdMLS