Historically the greatest players have not always made the greatest managers.

Some of the most successful managers in this country in recent decades include Jurgen Klopp, Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson. All of whom were never world class players by any stretch of the imagination and yet have delivered the most trophies.

Last week in a very understated way, one of the greatest ever English players Wayne Rooney hung up his boots to take over as manager of Championship side Derby County. He follows other players from England’s so called golden generation like Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard into management. It remains to be seen whether they can reach the heights of those I’ve named earlier.

Rooney’s achievements make some reading.

England 119 appearances 53 goals

Manchester United 559 appearances 253 goals

Everton 117 appearances 28 goals

DC Utd 52 appearances 25 goals

Derby County 31 appearances 6 goals

That is some record and he won five Premier League titles, one FA Cup, three League Cups, one Champions League, one Europa League and one FIFA World Club Championship. It all started when as a16-year-old he announced his arrival in the Premier League with a brilliant long-range winner against the then high-flying Arsenal at Goodison Park in 2002. He went on to make his debut for England when he was just 17.

I am sure he will look back on his England career and ask himself why the golden generation never secured World Cup or Euro glory. Nobody deserved it more than him. I remember going to the Euros in Portugal in 2004 with great expectation and excitement and with two minutes to go and leading 1-0 we somehow contrived to lose 2-1 to France with two late Zinedine Zidane goals. Make no mistake the England fans loved Rooney mainly because of his passion for his country and his amazing work rate. His ability and goalscoring prowess made him the complete package.

I believe he could have carried on as a midfield player for a couple more years playing at the highest level, but he clearly has the ambition and drive to succeed as a manager, and it is difficult to combine playing and managing and be the boss and not a teammate. What you never really know is how hard it is for someone like him to recover after games when he is getting older particularly after the work ethic, he has demonstrated over so many years.

He hasn’t always been a model professional off the pitch and now and again the headlines about him moved from the back pages to the front pages. I prefer to remember him for what happened on the pitch and as a big England fan I witnessed some memorable performances and outstanding goals. Whatever he achieves as a manager I will always remember him as one of this country’s greatest ever players and someone who never gave less than 100%.

Peter Varney – Chairman Integral Sports Management

For more information please contact enquiries@integralsportsmanagement.co.uk

Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images

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