Wayne Rooney will return to coaching in England, three and a half years after being appointed manager of Championship side Birmingham City, the club announced on Wednesday.
Manchester United legend Rooney resigned as D.C. United manager and joined Birmingham City on Sunday after the team failed to reach the MLS playoffs for the second consecutive season, and NFL legend Tom Brady announced in August that he would become a minority owner and advisory board chair in Birmingham.
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Rooney’s former team-mates Ashley Cole (formerly of England) and John O’Shea (formerly of Manchester United) will join his coaching staff.
Rooney said in a statement: “I have been building my managerial career and putting myself in challenging circumstances to prepare for this opportunity. This project has given me a sense of purpose and I can’t wait to get started. . “
Rooney succeeded John Eustace as manager and his Birmingham side finished sixth in the Championship with five wins in their opening 11 games before his 15-month spell came to an end on Monday.
Eustace helped Birmingham avoid relegation last season amid two failed takeovers and the threat of a points deduction for breaching EFL regulations.
“Wayne is a born winner,” said Birmingham partner Tom Wagner. “We are confident that, with the support of his coaching staff, the club and our supporters, he will lead the Blues forward in the next stage of their journey. His playing philosophy will help deliver the ambitions we have set for Birmingham City Ambition.
“Wayne has been preparing for an opportunity like this since he began his coaching education as a player at Manchester United. He and his staff have the full support of the board and everyone at the football club.”
Rooney has previously coached in the Championship, with his first coaching job being at Derby County from January 2021 to June 2022.
Just months after arriving, he guided the club from the stepping stones of the Championship to safety, but was unable to repeat the feat in his first full season in charge as he was docked 21 points. The 55 points Derby won that year would have been enough to secure safety in any other Championship season.
Rooney took charge in July 2022 after a spell with D.C. United, but was unable to prevent the team from finishing last in the Eastern Conference in his first season. He led the club to a ninth-place finish in 2023, but it wasn’t enough to secure a playoff spot.
D.C. United announced his departure immediately after losing 2-0 to New York City FC in the final game of the regular season.
Rooney was Manchester United’s leading scorer with 253 goals until Harry Kane overtook him as England’s all-time goalscoring record holder earlier this year.