On one occasion, a journalist asked Wayne Rooney about his definition of football. Always more pragmatic than mystical, the Liverpool striker responded with an ode to the chaos that celebrity gained in his curriculum. “Soccer is a sum of conflicts. Between the players and the coach, among ourselves, with the manager, between us and a lot of people … They don't seem to matter, but it's constant and it gets tough, ”he explained then.
Yesterday, Rooney, 33, signed a contract with Derby County to become a double agent in that eternal fight he says he has lived since he made his debut in the elite at 17. After just one year in D.C. United of the American Major League Soccer (25 goals in 46 games to date), the top scorer in the history of the English team announced his incorporation to the club of The Rams for a season and a half, as of January 2020, as a player and coach. "His arrival will organize a stir," congratulated Mel Morris, owner of the team. “I am excited about the opportunity that Derby offers me. Surely I can make a great contribution, ”said the protagonist.
After 16 seasons in the Premier League with the shirts of Manchester United (2004-2017) and Everton (in two stages, 2002-2004 and 2017-2018), Rooney will play in the English Second and will act as an assistant to Phillip Cocu, which in turn filled the vacancy on the bench left by the march of Frank Lampard to Chelsea. The signing rescues Rooney from the tabloid tabloids – where in recent times he had a fixed space, for his sexual scuffles, his hair transplant, his altercations in airplanes or his traffic offenses -, and returns him to the sports pages also reediting a recurring formula in Anglo-Saxon sport, that of the player-coach.
In the mid-80s, in a Liverpool shaken by the tragedy of Heysel, Joe Fagan submitted his resignation to the bench of the Reds and Kenny Dalglish became, at 34, the coach-player of the club. The winning laureate thus reissued a double position with roots in British football that later exerted other historical ones in the Premier such as Glenn Hoddle, Ruud Gullit, Gianluca Vialli or, more recently, Ryan Giggs. In that same 1985 in which Dalglish successfully multiplied his duties in Anfield until reaching a double of League and Cup, a child was born in the suburb of Croxteth that pulverized all the scoring records of Liverpool, but ended up in neighboring Everton heading for the celebrity with Manchester United (253 goals in 559 games).
Derby County started the Championship season last weekend with a 2-1 win over Huddersfield with a double from striker Lawrence. As of January, the coach Rooney will have the power to sit on the bench to spend his last bullets as a scorer.