(Reuters) – Former England captain Wayne Rooney is in advanced talks with Derby County about joining the Championship (second-tier) club as player-coach, Sky Sports News reported on Monday.
Derby’s new Dutch manager Phillip Cocu declined to comment on the reports but Sky said England’s record goalscorer was due to fly to the Midlands to discuss the details of the deal.
The 33-year-old ex-Manchester United and Everton striker, who has two years left on his contract with MLS club DC United, has previously spoken of his desire to go into management.
The BBC reported that Derby owner Mel Morris believes Rooney could help to get the club back into the Premier League.
“At the moment I can’t say anything,” Cocu told Sky Sports after Derby beat Huddersfield Town 2-1 in their opening fixture of the new Championship campaign.
“Like I said before the game we are working on completing the team. It isn’t complete yet. I cannot say anything about names before things are done.
“We have a lot of players we think could be an asset for the team. You always try to get the best you can with the resources at the club. A few more days then hopefully I can say something more.”
Derby appointed Rooney’s former England team mate Frank Lampard as manager last season and he took them to the playoff final but has since joined his former club Chelsea.
Sky Sports said Rooney sees Derby as an ideal opportunity to learn the ropes while also prolonging his playing career.
Rooney was a big fan of Dutch manager Louis van Gaal’s coaching methods when he was at Manchester United and has been convinced that Derby boss Cocu has a similar approach.
Rooney sees the role as a chance to get coaching experience and return home to be nearer his relatives.
If negotiations go well, he could be confirmed as a Derby player and coach within days, Sky reported.
(Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)