Wayne Rooney: Phillip Cocu welcomes early visit by Derby County's star signing

Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney played his final game for DC United in October

Wayne Rooney's early involvement at Derby County has given everyone a boost prior to him officially joining up with the squad, says manager Phillip Cocu.

Rooney, 34, has signed an 18-month player-coach deal and will link up with his new team next month, before his deal officially starts in January.

But England's all-time record scorer has been around the team at Derby's training ground this week.

"It's very positive. Everyone's looking forward to it, as is Wayne," Cocu said.

"It was good to have him here and start working together.

"He will still have a little break but to have him here, to get to the know the players and for the team to get to know him a little better, it is a great moment now to do it.

"He can learn a bit, do a little bit of work and when he comes back he can join us every day."

'He seems very relaxed'

Rooney's arrival has helped lift some of the gloom around the Championship side following a troubled few weeks which has seen winger Tom Lawrence and forward Mason Bennett plead guilty to drink-driving and captain Richard Keogh sacked for his part in the incident in September.

The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) said on Wednesday that they will "robustly defend" Keogh.

Former Everton and Manchester United striker Rooney, who scored 53 goals for England, left Major League Soccer side DC United following the end of their season in October.

He has been at Derby's Moor Farm training base meeting players and staff and discussing training ideas for when he returns from his planned holiday.

"To meet everybody before he comes back is a pre-start," Cocu added. "I am really glad he has been around for a few days. He is a very experienced player of course. He seems very relaxed and comfortable.

"Of course there is a lot of respect for his career, the player. He is a great character but he also comes here to play football and he is one of the team and this is the way the players approach and this is the natural way. This is also the way it should be."

Rooney made his professional debut for boyhood club Everton in August 2002 aged just 16 and became the Premier League's youngest scorer with a superb long-range goal against Arsenal before his 17th birthday.

After a strong Euro 2004 he moved to Manchester United for £27m, then a world-record fee for a teenager.

During 13 years with United Rooney won the Premier League five times, the Champions League, the FA Cup and three League Cups, while he also played 120 times for England.

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