Wayne Rooney reveals the Alex Ferguson ‘strength’ he has tried to use while managing Derby

The 35-year-old played under Ferguson at Man United for nine years.

Wayne Rooney has spoken of how he tried to ‘spot’ the strengths of the managers he played under during his career and how he has tried to implement them at Derby County.

Rooney hung up his boots in January to become the Rams’ permanent boss, having initially been appointed as interim player-manager after Philip Cocu’s departure.

The former Manchester United and England striker has managed to lift Derby out of the Championship relegation zone with the club having been bottom at the time of Cocu’s dismissal.

Derby under Wayne Rooney.

On Friday, Rooney led Derby to a 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest as Colin Kazim-Richards snatched a point for Rooney’s side with a late goal.

And during an interview with Sky Sports, Rooney has discussed how his managerial philosophy has been shaped by the coaches he played under at Old Trafford.

Rooney played under Alex Ferguson, David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho during his trophy-laden 13-year stint at the Red Devils, becoming United’s all-time leading goalscorer before returning to Everton in 2017.

Wayne Rooney and Alex Ferguson.

“I think there is a mixture of different managers I’ve worked under, and I’ve always tried to spot their strengths,” Rooney told Sky Sports.

“But their weaknesses are just as important. The obvious one is Sir Alex and the way he managed each player individually and the way he kept them all eager and ready to play. That was incredible.

“Then there was Van Gaal who was more tactical, and the way he set the team up not to concede goals was incredible, but there was not so much from a tactical point of view going forward.

“Jose Mourinho was a winner, he would do anything to win. So it’s been different with all the managers I’ve worked under, and I can take bits from each one.

“But the thing I need to do is be myself, and manage my team and the players the way they feel they need to be managed – both from a team point of view and individually.”

Rooney also discussed the thinking behind his decision to retire from playing and launch his managerial career at Pride Park, admitting that he didn’t anticipate his maiden foray into coaching happening ‘so soon.’

“It was always something which I felt I was working towards,” he added.

“I joined as player-coach. I’m an ambitious person and I felt if the right opportunity came along that I would retire from playing and have a go at management.

“I felt this was the right opportunity, and I felt I was the right person to help this club move forward.

“I came into the team and we did really well in the second half of last season, just missing out on the play-offs. So it wasn’t really something I thought would happen so soon. But we didn’t start the season well, and then obviously Phillip Cocu left.

“At that point, I felt knowing the club and the players that the opportunity was there for me to step in. I felt ready for it, and I felt there was a big chance I could help turn this club around and start moving it forwards.

“The club came to me and asked me to do it on my own, and then from there, I knew it was time to put my energy and focus into the team and I’d have to stop playing.”

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