Rio Ferdinand has admitted that Wayne Rooney’s approach to management is completely different to how he underwent his business during his playing career.
Before moving into coaching, Rooney featured alongside Ferdinand during his time at Manchester United whilst the duo also lined up together for England.
The 35-year-old was handed over the reins at Pride Park on a permanent basis earlier this year and initially made a positive start to his stint in charge of Derby.
However, a drop-off in performance levels by the Rams during the closing stages of the previous campaign resulted in the club avoiding relegation by the skin of their teeth.
Despite the fact that Rooney’s approach to his transfer business was hampered by the club’s embargo, he still managed to bolster his squad by drafting in some free-agents this summer.
Derby have since gone on to make a relatively positive start to the 2021/22 campaign as they have picked up seven points from their opening seven league games.
Making reference to Rooney’s management style, Ferdinand has admitted that the former England striker is respected by the club’s players and has praised him for his clear approach.
Speaking on his Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE YouTube channel about Rooney during a visit to the club’s training ground, the 42-year-old said: “As a player, he was quiet sometimes, can be loud sometimes, can be brash, can be aggressive.
“He’s the total opposite, the total opposite as a manager.
“There is a respect level with the players, I think immediately you get that with these players as it’s Wayne Rooney but then you’ve got to prove yourself.
“I think every player I’ve spoken to here, whether it be Curtis Davies, Ravel [Morrison], they’ve all said like ‘he’s good you know.’
“Because they didn’t know what to expect, like anyone knew coming through the door.
“But he’s brought them together, there’s a more close knit group now and they’re really young.
“He’s been through some hardships in his young, early start as a manager but when I listened to him in the meeting there with Liam Rosenior, they were positive, they were clear, their messages were really bang on point.”
This is an intriguing insight into how Rooney is approaching his role at Derby as Ferdinand has illustrated that his former team-mate is clearly looking to get the best out of his players.
With the Rams hoping to achieve a relative amount of success in the Championship this season, it will be interesting to see whether they can use the confidence gained from their recent draw with West Brom to their advantage.
Set to face Stoke this weekend, Derby could potentially leapfrog Preston North End in the league standings if they pick up all three points in this fixture.
By nurturing the talent of some of his younger players in the coming months, Rooney may create a platform for the Rams to reach new heights in the Championship.