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Plymouth Argyle have appointed a Man United legend as their new manager

Championship side Plymouth Argyle have given Wayne Rooney a surprise return to management by making the 38-year-old their new manager.

Manchester United goalscorer Rooney was sacked by Birmingham City in January after a miserable 83 days in charge, taking the Blues from play-off contenders to second-tier strugglers.

The former DC United and Derby County manager lost nine and won two of his 15 games in charge of City, who were relegated despite winning on the final day of the season.

“Taking on this role feels like the perfect next step in my career,” Rooney said, thanking Argyle chairman Simon Hallett and chief executive Andrew Parkinson for their “faith” in him.

Plymouth said they consulted with “experienced managers and senior coaches”, pointing to Rooney’s “strong character and ability to deal with difficult situations” as key.

“Throughout the interview process, Wayne showed himself to be a passionate, intelligent and knowledgeable person with a desire to prove himself and improve his management career,” said Hallett.

“So much so that he reached out to the Board when we started this program and he was attracted to the existing project and showed a real plan to lead the football club forward.

“His ambitions and goals are similar to ours and we feel he is the right person to provide the type of exciting and attacking football we all like to see and help us achieve the club’s goal.”

Parkinson said Rooney was looking to “start his managerial career”. “As the discussions progressed, it became clear that there is a natural fit in our visions of football and the best way to take the club forward,” he added.

“When you have constructive conversations like that, it’s a good fit. We believe that Wayne is the right person to help the club on its journey for the next five years.”

The Pilgrims won the League One title in 2022/23 under former manager Steven Schumacher, who left Stoke City in December.

Former England youth coach Ian Foster took over in January but was sacked less than three months after Argyle were in dire straits which put them at risk of relegation.

Kevin Nancekivell, who was part of the interim management team when Plymouth avoided relegation, will continue to work for Rooney and Simon Ireland and goalkeeping coach Daryl Flahavan.

“I’ve seen firsthand how talented the squad is – and the atmosphere at Home Park,” said Rooney.

“The club is on an exciting long-term journey with an ongoing program. I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of it. I can’t wait for the Championship season to start in August.”

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