Rooney rejected Saudi offer before joining Birmingham

Published:
Rooney rejected Saudi offer before joining Birmingham

Wayne Rooney said he rejected an offer to manage in the Saudi Pro League before choosing to take charge of English second-tier side Birmingham City.

The former Manchester United and England striker, who previously coached DC United and Derby County, was appointed Birmingham manager on Wednesday with the club sixth in the Championship.

Birmingham chief executive Garry Cook said he had tried to bring Rooney to the desert kingdom in his previous role as CEO of the Saudi Pro League.

"We discussed Saudi Arabia. It wasn't going to happen," Cook said at a joint news conference with Rooney on Thursday.

A move to Saudi Arabia would have seen Rooney follow former England teammate Steven Gerrard, who was appointed manager of Al-Ettifaq in July.

Rooney said his decision was "no disrespect" to managers who had chosen to move to Saudi Arabia, adding: "For me, I felt my development, my pathway, was a different way.

"I think for myself, firstly to get back into English football is great. It's what I've wanted to do.

"I've had opportunities over the last four to six weeks at other clubs as well, but since speaking to Birmingham, it was a really easy decision.

"I want to be successful; it's clear this club wants to be successful; and everything we spoke about was very similar."

Rooney's first game in charge will come when Birmingham face Middlesbrough on Oct. 21.

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