The conclusion of a footballer’s career is always an interesting thing to observe.
Just what do they do next? Typically, player’s have three options: coaching, punditry or, if you’re former Liverpool player Steve Finnan, go into hiding, never to be seen or heard of again.
The third option doesn’t apply to Wayne Rooney. Even if he wanted to, the Manchester United star has too big a profile to suddenly vanish off the face of the earth.
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At the age of 30, Rooney has reached the point in his career where he’s contemplating what to do next.
It would be a shame for a player with his ability to turn to Match of the Day. The FA could certainly do with Rooney’s football smarts in the England setup.
And thankfully, that could be where he’s headed. The England captain has revealed that he wants to pursue a career in management when he hangs up his boots.
"I would like to be manager when I finish playing," Rooney said during a Facebook Q&A.
"Football is what I've done my whole life. I'm currently in the process of taking my coaching badges so hopefully when I finish playing I'll have that complete."
Chances are Rooney will continue playing for the best part of a decade. When his career with United is over, it’s easy to imagine him joining the MLS for a few seasons.
But his managerial career will be eagerly-anticipated. Rooney, who will almost certainly break Sir Bobby Charlton’s record as United’s all-time top goalscorer next season, has plenty to pass on. From being a teenage star to dealing with immense pressure and scrutiny, playing under Rooney would certainly be a valuable experience.
The reaction to the news has been rather fierce and, unfortunately for the United man, not too pleasant. Rooney’s reputation for not being the sharpest tool in the box, as well as his perceived likeness to a certain ogre, came to the fore.
Media vs management
Ditching a career in the media to work in management is seen as being brave nowadays. For every Ryan Giggs, there’s a Jamie Carragher who doesn’t see the point in becoming a manager and being criticised for every wrong move.
It’s a valid motive. Offering an opinion on football is certainly more comfortable than controlling the fortunes of an entire team while trying to please owners and fans.
England must hope that Rooney doesn’t reconsider his career choice.