Gary Neville has urged Wayne Rooney to take inspiration from Diego Simeone’s “streetfighter” style of management after being installed as permanent boss at Derby County.
The former England and Manchester United forward picked up his first victory now permanently in charge of the Rams, defeating Bournemouth 1-0 at home thanks to Krystian Bielik’s goal, providing the perfect response to a 1-0 loss to Rotherham in his first game last weekend.
And Neville, who endured a difficult experience as manager of Valencia, has offered his advice and the lessons he learned from his time at the Mestalla.
“I would say treat it like your last job, and not your first,” Neville said on Sky Sports. “I’d say don’t be naive, which is difficult when it is your first job. When I went into my first job with Valencia, I went in thinking ‘everything is beautiful and perfect’.
“You can get into thinking, ‘we’re going to play beautiful football and we’ll do this and that’, but he should treat if like you’re fighting for your life from the very beginning. I’d say make sure you get the right people around you, who’ve got experience, who can make sure that the pitfalls and obstacles that you hit know they’re going to be there.
“I just hope his teams have the personality of Wayne Rooney, the kid – not the Wayne Rooney who got older and smoothed over with age. I know you’ve got to be articulate nowadays, but I hope he’s like a Diego Simeone. That’s what he was like as a player and as a kid. A team that is aggressive and ferocious.
“I’d say be what you are. He’s a streetfighter, so he should be like that. He had that in his game, and he should have that in his team. Hopefully, his teams are a mirror of how he was as a player at his absolute best.”
Rooney’s next game in charge is at QPR on Saturday, with the R’s one place and two points above them in the table in 20th.
The immediate goal now for Rooney will be to move away from the relegation zone with just two points separating them from the Millers.