Former Derby County player and coach Eric Steele spent some time talking about Wayne Rooney being appointed as Derby manager during the latest edition of the BBC’s Sportscene Podcast.
The 35-year-old had been in charge of the East Midlands club’s first-team in a caretaker role following the sacking of Phillip Cocu back in November until he was officially appointed as the Rams’ new manager permanently earlier this month, simultaneously ending his playing career.
Rooney has become Derby’s manager with the club subject to a takeover bid led by Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan, which initially received the EFL’s approval in early November but is yet to officially be completed.
Despite that, however, Steele has shared that he believes the prospective “new owners” of the East Midlands club were kept in the loop about Rooney taking the reins at Pride Park permanently, with the pundit stating that he’s “sure there’d have been discussions” amid concerns from the panel that he would not receive full backing from the incoming owners.
Steele said: “I think the new owners will have known that Wayne was taking the job full-time. I’m sure there’d have been discussions when it was announced.
“If I’m buying a football club and I’ve got somebody like the name and the pedigree of Wayne Rooney, albeit as a top, top player, to investors who are coming from the Middle East, they’ll know Wayne Rooney, and they’ll know Wayne Rooney as a player.
“Now what they’re starting to see is Wayne Rooney as a manager. It’s already been agreed, contracts have been agreed, he’s going to be here for two-and-a-half years.”
Do you think the would-be Rams owners had a say in Rooney's appointment?
TIF Thoughts on what Steele had to say about “the new owners” at Derby County…
Rooney was announced as manager the following Friday, 15th January, and given that it seems like many associated with the takeover believed that the deal would be done by then, it may not be extremely far-fetched to think that the would-be Derby buyers were kept in the loop about this appointment being made, to ensure that they were on board with Rooney becoming manager permanently.
If this is the case, which Steele seemingly thinks is likely, then it seems that the new Rams owners are happy to take the club forward with Rooney in charge of the first-team, so perhaps that is a good sign that pieces are falling into place at Pride Park, despite the takeover not officially being done yet, and if the takeover does eventually go through, at least the new owners will have some of their preferred club structure in place.