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Great footballer in his day but is Wayne Rooney cut out for managerial roles? | Football News

He was a top-class forward in his playing days but as a manager, he is a major disappointment. He has managed three teams to date but has failed to leave any real impression with them which makes one wonder if he is really cut out for managerial positions.

Birmingham City manager Wayne Rooney gestures on the touchline during the English Football League Championship soccer match between Leeds United and Birmingham City, at Elland Road, in Leeds, England, Monday, Jan. 1(AP)
Birmingham City manager Wayne Rooney gestures on the touchline during the English Football League Championship soccer match between Leeds United and Birmingham City, at Elland Road, in Leeds, England, Monday, Jan. 1(AP)

Birmingham City sacked former England and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney earlier this week after he failed to deliver the goods as a manager. In fact, during his 83-day stay, the club saw a massive downward spiral. He was put in charge in October after John Eustace was shown the door at a time when the team wasn’t doing badly, in sixth place on the Championship points table.

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They have since slipped up horribly and presently are 20th in the 24-team competition. When Rooney was appointed, expectations were really high of him. Birmingham City last played in the Premier League in 2011. Rooney himself made it clear at the time of his appointment that bringing the club back to the top flight was what he was aiming for. The 38-year-old was a gritty footballer in his playing days and that quality, many believed, was going to change it all for the club. Plus, he was bringing some serious celebrity to Birmingham City.

Sadly, during the 15 matches he helmed, the Blues experienced a massive downturn. Just 10 points from those matches: two wins, four draws and nine defeats. Even the hard-core Rooney supporter will find it hard to defend him. He was brought on board with the aim of taking the club back to the first tier and now that dream was shattered badly, there was no point continuing with him. There can be no case against the club owners.

This is not the first time that Rooney has failed to live up to managerial expectations. He previously managed then Championship club Derby County and Major League Soccer’s DC United. He had played for both clubs towards the end of his playing career.

Clearly, during his playing time there he was able to convince top brass that he could make a difference as a manager but as it turned out, he disappointed for the large part.

At DC United, he resigned in early October 2023 after the team crashed out of the MLS Cup play-offs for the fourth consecutive year. He had joined the club in 2022. Before at Derby County, he joined as a player-coach in January 2020. Later that year in November, he was put in interim charge of the club. In January 2021, he got the full-time role which also marked the end of his playing career. After barely avoiding relegation in 2020-21 under his watch, the club went into administration in September 2021 and points reduction from that and financial rules breach later meant the Rams were relegated to the third division after the 2021-22 season. For the first time in 36 years, they were relegated to League One. Rooney eventually resigned from his post having tasted 24 wins, 22 draws and a whopping 39 defeats in all.

It’s a simple judgment to make. He has failed at all three clubs he has managed so far which points to only one thing that he is just not good enough. Because of his star power, awe-struck these three clubs chose to invest in him but he failed to deliver for them which highlights again that there is no guarantee that a world-class footballer – United’s highest scorer of all-time at that — will also make a successful manager. Players even from his generation like Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Gary Neville, John Terry, Ashley Cole and many others have had similar disappointments.

So what’s ahead for Rooney? In early 2022, he turned down an Everton interview, saying the time wasn’t ripe yet. In hindsight, he should not have done that. After two bad managerial performances, he is unlikely to get another respectable chance in England in the near future. He has confirmed he is taking a break but eventually he may have to move out of the country and find a job elsewhere. The resilience he showed in his playing career… he badly needs it

now. He will have to take a backseat for now and kind of swallow his pride and start from scratch. That’s the only way to sustain his managerial aspirations. In terms of the skills needed for the role, he doesn’t have much going his way at present.

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