“On the back of Wayne joining the club, we have been offered a record-breaking sponsorship deal with our principal shirt sponsor, 32Red,” Derby County owner Mel Morris said. Photo: USA Today Sports

Wayne Rooney will join Derby County in January from MLS side DC United, with the former England captain set to continue his playing career while working towards his goal of becoming a manager, the Championship club said on Tuesday.

In a major coup for the second-tier club, Derby said the 33-year-old Rooney had signed an initial 18-month contract with the option of another year, and would also work as a coach with the first team and academy.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity that Derby County have provided me with,” former Manchester United and Everton striker Rooney said in a statement on Derby’s website.

“I’m looking forward to joining (manager) Phillip Cocu, his coaching staff and the first-team from the start of January.

“I’m sure I can make a big contribution... I’m equally excited to begin my coaching career.”

Rooney becomes the latest member of England’s so-called “Golden Generation” of players to take their first steps towards management, following the likes of Derby’s former boss Frank Lampard and Rangers manager Steven Gerrard.

Lampard has since taken over at his old club Chelsea, having guided Derby to the playoff final last season.

“First and foremost, Wayne is joining us as a player, but he will also have coaching responsibilities too,” Derby owner Mel Morris added.

“The commercial opportunities this creates are widespread and significant.

“On the back of Wayne joining the club, we have been offered a record-breaking sponsorship deal with our principal shirt sponsor, 32Red.”

Reuters