Everton continue to fumble their way through a messy season and, after Saturday's 1-0 loss to Aston Villa, the club are anxiously looking over their shoulders at the relegation battle. One man who has been touted as a potential solution to their problems is Wayne Rooney.
Rooney, who started his career with the Merseyside club, has been working wonders with Championship side Derby County this season. After the sacking of Rafa Benitez as manager of Everton, Rooney has been one of the names most heavily linked with the job - and Shay Given and Neil Lennon both think that would be a good move for the Toffees.
Wayne Rooney would be 'good fit' for Everton - Shay Given
Wayne Rooney has been doing an incredible job in charge of Derby County. The Rams have been stuck in the relegation zone all season after a 21 point deduction for financial issues. Despite the deduction, and a thin squad and financial difficulties at the club, Rooney has guided Derby off the bottom of the table, and even has fans dreaming of a miraculous escape.
Contrast that with the experience of Rooney's former club Everton. The Toffees started the season well, but their form has rapidly deteriorated and, after successive losses in the Premier League, fans are anxious about a potential relegation battle.
"Of course Everton is a club I grew up supporting. I'm flattered to get brought up in those conversations."
- Wayne Rooney on links with the Everton manager position 🔵 pic.twitter.com/cpOFz0xy9e
— Everton FC News (@LivEchoEFC) January 21, 2022
Duncan Ferguson has taken temporary charge of the team, but Rooney continues to be linked with the job on a permanent basis. Whether any potential appointment would be immediate or scheduled for the summer is unclear, but Rooney himself commented on the rumours on Friday.
Shay Given appeared on Premier Sports' coverage of the Premier League on Saturday, and touted Rooney as an excellent choice for the Everton job. The two have worked together as coaches at Derby since 2019, and the former Ireland goalkeeper talked up Rooney's potential as a manager.
I think he'd be a good fit. Wayne obviously was an Everton fan growing up and of course played for Everton. He's doing a great job at Derby even with the points deduction.
It's a big job, whoever gets it. It's a big club, there's huge wealth behind it with the new owners, they've spent over £500million with not a lot to show for it. Whoever gets it has a big job.
People who don't know him probably think he's a hot head, he'd be shouting down referee's throats and shouting at his own players. He's actually quite calm as a manager. I thought he'd be ranting and raving, he's actually the opposite.
Keeping your lid on it sometimes is harder than losing it. Sometimes when he did lose it was after we won a game.
— Premier Sports (@PremierSportsTV) January 22, 2022
Rooney played for Everton in two spells - at the very beginning of his career, having come up through the academy, and then at the twilight of his career, after leaving Manchester United. He would certainly be a popular appointment, though concerns have been raised that he may suffer the same fate as Frank Lampard at Chelsea, due to his inexperience.
Neil Lennon appeared alongside Given, and he was not concerned about Rooney's inexperience. He pointed out that many big names have passed through Goodison Park without success in recent years, and that the problems at the club run far deeper than the manager.
They've gone down the route of experienced managers - Benitez, Ancelotti, Sam Allardyce, Marco Silva, Ronald Koeman. It's not worked. There's something not right.
They sold Digne - obviously they're backing the manager, and then they sack the manager a week later. The decision making is not right at the top end of the club. Someone needs to go in there and fix it between the board and the manager. Set a structure in place where it's a lot more consistent in the decision making.
They were poor today Everton - the 4-4-2, the long balls. They just don't have the personnel at the moment, they lack a bit of creativity and they're leaking goals.
Wayne Rooney is, for now, continuing to lead the charge for Derby in the Championship. If Everton do end up calling on him, it will surely be hard for the Premier League legend to turn it down.