Wayne Rooney has confirmed he will no longer continue as manager of Derby County.
The former Everton and Manchester United player became the club’s manager in January last year after retiring from the game but faced an uphill struggle to keep the troubled club in the Championship.
Derby were handed a 21-point deduction for breaching EFL accounting rules and though they finished on 34 points, it was not enough to avoid a 23rd-placed finish and relegation to League One.
The club’s ownership has also long been in doubt and though Friday brought fresh hope about its future, Rooney met with administrators to inform them of his decision.
In a statement, Rooney said: “Over the course of the summer I have been closely following developments regarding the ownership of Derby County.
“Today I met with the administrators to inform them of my decision that it was time for me to leave the club. In fairness to them, they tried tremendously hard to change my decision but my mind was made up.
“My time at the club has been a rollercoaster of emotions, both highs and lows, but I have to say that I have enjoyed the challenge.
“Personally, I feel the club now needs to be led by someone with fresh energy and not affected by the events that have happened over the last eighteen months. I will remember my time at Derby with great pride and affection and would like to thank all my staff, players and of course the fans for their incredible support. I will never forget you and hope to see you all again in the near future and in happier times.
“Finally, I am aware that the club still have interested parties who wish to take over the running of the club. To them I say this, Derby County is a great club with a great history and great fans. I wish you all the best and much success for the future.”
The news comes after local businessman David Clowes moved into pole position to buy the club after purchasing Pride Park.
The Athletic exclusively revealed in May that Derbyshire property firm Clowes Developments was close to agreeing a deal for the stadium, before Chris Kirchner’s failed takeover.
Derby face Oxford United in their opening League One match against Oxford United on July 30.
(Photo: Zac Goodwin/PA Images via Getty Images)