WAYNE ROONEY wants a sensational return to English football.
And he is eyeing up the vacant job as Southampton manager.
Rooney, 37, left Derby last summer to take over as DC United boss in the MLS and is currently in pre-season ahead of the 2023 campaign.
However, he could be ready to battle it out with ex-England team-mates Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard for the gig at St Mary’s.
Nathan Jones was sacked on Sunday after just eight Premier League games in charge following his takeover from Ralph Hasenhuttl in November.
He managed one win and seven defeats – the latest coming against Wolves despite leading against ten men.
And the Welshman departed with Southampton rock bottom of the Premier League
As reported by talkSPORT, Rooney would “be interested” in taking over at Saints.
Gerrard and Lampard – axed by Aston Villa and Everton respectively this season – are also thought to be keen.
Jesse Marsch remains the odds-on favourite to succeed Jones, just a week after losing his job at Leeds.
Mauricio Pochettino is on the shortlist for a dramatic return to the south coast with Marcelo Gallardo, Nuno Espirito Santo, Sam Allardyce and Ivan Juric among the other candidates.
Rooney may be deemed too inexperienced to take on the challenge of a Premier League relegation battle at this early stage of his managerial career – just as Everton decided.
The former Manchester United and England captain stepped into management as he retired from playing at Derby.
He led the club to safety in dramatic circumstances in 2020-21, with a 3-3 draw on the final day of the season ensuring they stayed in the Championship.
However, the Rams were relegated last season after being docked 21 points for entering administration.
Rooney’s side picked up 14 wins and 13 draws which would have seen them finish 17th.
He decided to walk away with the club still in financial woes and returned to former club DC United as manager last July, with the Black and Reds finishing bottom of the Eastern Conference and 28th overall out of 28 clubs.
Should Rooney get the Southampton job, though, he would replace Gary O’Neil as the youngest manager currently working in the Premier League.
Saints have 15 points from 22 games this season with the win at Everton on January 14 just their fourth of the season and still their only points since October.
They are joined in the relegation zone by Bournemouth and Everton, but managerless Leeds – in 17th on 19 points – will drop in if the Toffees win tonight’s Merseyside derby.
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