Wayne Rooney could be Manchester United boss - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
MANCHESTER -- Wayne Rooney could one day manage Manchester United, according to boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Rooney will face his old club on Thursday when Derby take on United in the FA Cup fifth round at Pride Park (live on ESPN+ 2.30 p.m. ET).
The 34-year-old signed a player-coach deal with the Championship side when he left D.C. United and Solskjaer believes his former Old Trafford teammate could take over at United in the future.
Asked whether Rooney could be manager, Solskjaer said: "Yeah. It depends on how much you put into the job and how much you want it
"It takes over your life but it's the second best after playing. I am sure there are many ex-players and managers who want my job."
Rooney, United's all-time top goalscorer with 253, was a favourite of Noah Solskjaer, the Norwegian's son, when he was a player, but the manager insists there won't be split loyalties in the family.
"I don't think so this time around," Solskjaer laughed. "It's one game he doesn't want him to win."
The FA Cup offers Solskjaer one of two chances along with the Europa League to end his first full season as manager with a trophy.
Securing a return to the Champions League is United's priority between now and May but Solskjaer has won enough at Old Trafford to understand the value of silverware as he looks to lift some of the pressure on his job.
"Trophies are what we play for and of course that would be fantastic to get to the final and win a trophy, for everyone at the club not just me personally," Solskjaer said. "That's what we are aiming for."
United will line up against Derby looking to extend their unbeaten run to eight games and book their place in the FA Cup quarterfinals.
It is already their best run of form since Solskjaer won his first eight games in charge last season but he insisted his team is still a work in progress as he attempts to change what he calls "the culture" at Old Trafford.
"We are getting there day by day," he said. "There are still some days here when I am not 100% happy with what has happened but you understand because we are human beings.
"I am not going to feel sorry for you. You have to make yourself available for the next game and competitive in situations. That is what I like.
"I like to see players who say 'OK he has left me out for a few games without explanation'. I don't have to explain every time. Sometimes I do yes but it is a way for me to say I need more."