Derby County manager Phillip Cocu has suggested that Wayne Rooney could start his coaching stint at the club against Queens Park Rangers this weekend.
Rooney agreed an 18-month player-coach deal with Derby back in August when he was still on the books of Major League Soccer outfit DC United.
The former Manchester United and Everton forward is leaving DC United, but he is ineligible to play for Derby until January 2020.
However, the 34-year-old can be in the Rams’ dugout, and manager Cocu – who was appointed in the role in the summer – has suggested that the former England international will be part of his coaching team against QPR in the Championship game at the Pride Park Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
“I think so,” Cocu said about Rooney. “He could be in the dugout. He had to plan his holiday break after the MLS season. He will be important for us because he is a natural leader and this is something we still struggle with.
“Reading the game, seeing what is necessary at moments and also verbally if somebody is not doing his job, getting everybody switched on.
“We don’t have to talk about him as a player, but his experience will be very important for a lot of the young players in the squad.”
Derby started the season aiming to finish in the top six of the Championship table, but the Rams are not doing so well at the moment.
Cocu’s side are currently 13th in the standings with 24 points from 18 matches, level on points with their next opponents QPR – who have played a fewer game – and five points behind East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest.