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Man United great Rooney hired as Birmingham City manager

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester United and England great Wayne Rooney was appointed manager of Birmingham City on Wednesday.

Rooney, who left his position as coach of MLS team D.C. United on Sunday, has signed a three-and-a-half-year contract.

“My job is to elevate the club to the next level and I can’t wait to get started,” Rooney said. “I know what the expectations are and our job is to deliver.”

Birmingham is currently in sixth place in England’s second division. It parted ways with former manager John Eustace on Monday, leading to speculation of Rooney being hired as his replacement.

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“Wayne is a born winner,” said Birmingham co-owner and chairman Tom Wagner. “We believe, with the support of his coaching staff, the club, and our supporters, he will take Blues forward on the next stage of our journey. His playing philosophy will help to realise the ambitions we have set for Birmingham City.

“Wayne has been preparing for an opportunity like this since he embarked on his coaching education whilst still a player at Manchester United.”

Rooney was manager of Derby from 2020-22. He then spent just over a year in MLS with D.C. United.

In a stellar playing career he won five Premier League titles and the Champions League with Manchester United, along with a host of other trophies.

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He is United’s all-time leading scorer with 253 goals. He was also England’s top scorer until being surpassed by Harry Kane this year.

Rooney has been clear in his ambition to have a successful coaching career as well.

“I have been building my managerial career, putting myself in challenging environments, to get me ready for this opportunity,” he said. “It’s a project that gives me a sense of purpose and I can’t wait to get started.

“I have a clear way that I want the team to play, and my coaching staff and I will work hard to implement it. We will create a winning culture here with an identity that gets Blues fans on their feet.”

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James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer