London (AFP)

Former England captain Wayne Rooney is ending his playing career to become full-time Derby County coach, the England D2 club said in a statement on Friday.

The top scorer in the history of the Three Lions (53 goals in 120 caps) "chose to put an end to his illustrious playing career to focus fully on his work" as a coach, explained the 22nd ranked formation in the Championship .

Aged 35, the ex-Manchester United striker signed a two-and-a-half-year contract until the summer of 2023. Since the dismissal of Phillip Cocu in November 2020, he already occupied the role of coach by interim, while continuing his playing career.

During the tenure of the Dutch technician, he officiated as an assistant coach and player.

Officially arrived in January 2020 with the "Rams", Rooney played 35 matches in their jersey.

He will be accompanied on the bench by Liam Rosenior, appointed assistant coach, and former Irish international goalkeeper Shay Given, coach in charge of the first team.

The first match of the new staff is scheduled for Saturday, with the reception of Rotherham United (23rd), a crucial match to avoid relegation to the third division.

Before arriving in the Championship, Rooney, born in Liverpool and who started his training club at Everton, made the heyday of Manchester United.

Between 2004 and 2017, the year he returned to Everton, the forward scored 253 goals - a record - for the Red Devils in 559 appearances.

After his stint with the Toffees, Rooney crossed the Atlantic in 2018 to join the American club DC United, his last experience before arriving in Derby.

A historic English football club, Derby has two national titles and one Cup to its name, and reached the C1 semi-final in 1972/73.

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