Alex Ferguson says Wayne Rooney has a “presence about him” and is hopeful the legendary forward will succeed in management after announcing his retirement from playing.
Rooney was officially named as Derby County boss on Friday, two months after replacing Phillip Cocu as interim coach.
The 35-year-old enjoyed an incredible playing career that spanned nearly two decades, during which time he won 16 trophies at Manchester United, the majority of those under Ferguson.
He retires as United and England’s all-time leading goalscorer and while Ferguson believes that will be an advantage for Rooney, he warned the former forward results were all that mattered as a coach.
“He is England’s top goalscorer, he is Manchester United’s top goalscorer and he has had a fantastic career as a player and it will give him a starting point,” Ferguson said on the ‘A Team Talk With Legends’ panel on Friday.
“But like anyone else it is a results industry and you need to get results. He will know that better than anyone.
“He has had a good start… and he has knowledge of the game, a presence about him and I hope he does well.
“It is a big step for him. He is quite a wealthy young man now with his career in football, so he probably doesn’t need to go into management to look after his family, but he wants to do it and that is important.
“There is no point being a manager because someone asks you to be. He went there as a player-coach, he then become player-manager and now he has the manager’s job and that’s what he wanted. Hopefully he does well.”
— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) January 15, 2021
England manager Gareth Southgate was also pleased to see Rooney take the helm at Derby.
Rooney joins former England team-mates Steven Gerrard (Rangers), Frank Lampard (Chelsea) and Scott Parker (Fulham) in management.
“He has had an incredible career. I am pleased we have the likes of Wayne, Steven, Frank and Scott Parker – we don’t want too many [Jamie] Carraghers sitting on the sofa because those good football brains are gone from the game,” Southgate said.
“What you want from an England perspective is young English managers and ex-players to come in and add to the game and help develop young players.
“Those lads have brilliant experiences and it will be a huge challenge of course, but Wayne loves football, has a fantastic brain for football and I wish I had the chance to manage him five years earlier – not be the one to leave him out of the England squad, I’d rather be the one picking him at his peak.”