Mon. May 23rd, 2022
Everton

  • Rooney admits it was ‘difficult decision’ to say no
  • He explains he wants to continue as Derby manager

Wayne Rooney has said he turned down an approach from Everton to be interviewed for their manager’s job, describing it as a tough decision.

Rooney, a boyhood Everton fan who joined the club aged nine and had two spells as a forward there, has been the Derby County manager since 2020. The financially stricken club are in administration and have been docked 21 points, making their tally of 14 points as the Championship’s second-bottom side impressive.

“Everton approached my agent and asked me to interview for the vacant job, which I turned down,” Rooney said. “I believe I will be a Premier League manager – I believe I’m ready for that, 100%. And if that is with Everton one day in the future that would be absolutely great. But I’ve got a job here that I’m doing at Derby County which is an important job to me.”

The pull of Everton, for whom he played in the first team from 2002-04 and in 2017-18, did cause Rooney to consider the approach. “They got in touch with my agent [Paul Stretford], my agent let the administrators know as well, and yes of course it was a difficult decision for me,” he said.

Everton’s pursuit of a successor to Rafael Benítez is in its second week, with the club on Friday undergoing final interviews with Frank Lampard, Vítor Pereira and Duncan Ferguson, who is in a second stint as the caretaker manager.

Farhad Moshiri, the Everton majority shareholder, was due to fly to London from his Monaco base to conduct the interviews with members of the Everton board.

Lampard’s first job in management was, like Rooney’s, at Derby. The 43-year-old was in charge for a year until he left in 2019 to take over Chelsea, who sacked him last season.

Pereira, a decade older than Lampard, is 18 years into his managerial career, the Portuguese’s most recent club being Fenerbahce. He started a second tenure there last summer but lost his job in December. Ferguson has never taken charge of a team on a full-time basis.

There was a hostile reaction from Everton fans to Pereira emerging as Moshiri’s preferred choice on Tuesday, prompting Pereira to take the unusual step of pitching for the job and defending his record in a live television interview the following day. Supporters have staged several protests over the running of the club.

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