Wayne Rooney explains why he chose Plymouth over TV punditry

Wayne Rooney explains why he chose Plymouth over TV punditry

New Plymouth Argyle manager Wayne Rooney has revealed that a desire to prove himself as a manager was behind him turning down work as a pundit to take his role, joking that he didn’t “want to become the next Gary Neville”.

Rooney was appointed by the appointed by the Sky Bet Championship club in May having lasted just three months in charge at Birmingham last season.

The former Manchester United and England striker has since worked in television, featuring on the BBC during the broadcaster’s coverage of Euro 2024.

A number of former colleagues for club and country have abandoned fledgling managerial careers to become prominent pundits, including Sky stalwart and ITV regular Neville.

But Rooney insists coaching is his real passion as he takes charge of a side that finished just one point above the relegation zone last season.

“I don’t want to become the next Gary Neville,” Rooney joked at his first press conference since joining Plymouth. “I have a desire, a passion with football and a love for football and I’ve always had that.

Wayne Rooney has put his punditry work on pause to take the Plymouth job (The FA via Getty Images)

“The last few months have been very strange for me. Since January it’s been a real strange time being at home. I’ve done bits of TV work, but my real desire is to get back into management.”

The 38-year-old was sacked by the Blues in January just 83 days into a tenure in which he oversaw nine defeats in 15 games.

Birmingham had been sixth in the Championship at the time of Rooney‘s appointment but they ended the campaign getting relegated.

The former Manchester United and Everton striker, who has previously managed at Derby and DC United, intends to put that experience behind him.

“You always have to prove yourself,” Rooney explained. “I think that’s what I had for 20 years as a player and, as a coach, wherever you are, whatever job you’re in, you have to prove yourself. That’s normal, that’s a pressure which comes with the job.

Wayne Rooney previously managed Birmingham, Derby and DC United (PA Archive)

“And of course, when you go into jobs, you leave yourself open. If you don’t get results, then obviously there’s consequences to that, which was the case at Birmingham.

“But now I’m here, I’m ready. I’m excited. I took a lot of time to reflect on what happened at Birmingham. Sometimes things happen for a reason. The good thing which came out of it means that I’m here now, and I’m here to go and be successful. I really believe in that.

“I’m a confident person and I back myself to do that. I’m just looking forward to getting started.”

Rooney succeeds Ian Foster, who was sacked in April with the Pilgrims in relegation danger.

Argyle went on to survive on the final day of the season, with Birmingham dropping to the third tier instead.

Rooney hopes to take the club to the top flight but admits it is a longer-term ambition.

He said: “Of course I’m not going to come out and say we’re looking to get Premier League in a year’s time.

“We think we need to be realistic and what we’re trying to do is build on where the club has been over the last five years, which has been rising and getting better over time.

“I think we need to gradually keep moving forward and keep trying to improve. and certainly improve on last season.

“Hopefully at the end of a time frame, which we have in place, we can get closer to that Premier League.”

Additional reporting by PA

Source: independent.co.uk