Wayne Rooney will recover from his Birmingham City exit and could still one day manage Manchester United, according to his former Red Devils strike partner Dimitar Berbatov.
Birmingham appointed United great Rooney following their dismissal of John Eustace in October, with the Blues then sixth in the Championship following an impressive start to the season.
However, Rooney only oversaw two victories in 15 games at the helm before being sacked on Tuesday, with Birmingham slipping to 20th in the table after losing nine of their matches under him.
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Berbatov, who helped United win two Premier League titles and reach two UEFA Champions League finals between 2008 and 2012, believes his former team-mate did not have enough time to implement his own style at St Andrew’s, but accepts the Blues’ results were not good enough.
“It’s a very tricky situation. Birmingham were sixth when Wazza took over, and now they’re 20th in the table,” the former striker told Betfair.
“It’s a major disappointment to go from the top six to 20th and the statistics speak for themselves – he only won twice in 15 matches. It’s difficult to defend that.
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) January 2, 2024
“On the other hand, he did not have the time to prove himself. You need to get the results first to give yourself time to build your vision. You can’t build on your vision while going through bad results. You don’t get time so easily in football.
“Maybe if he was given more time he would have turned things around, but again, the results are the most important thing in modern football. It’s a pity.”
Despite Rooney’s struggles with Birmingham, which came after he failed to lead D.C. United to the MLS Cup Playoffs in his only full campaign as a coach in the United States, Berbatov believes he could still enjoy a long and successful career in the dugout.
Indeed, Berbatov sees no reason why Rooney cannot repair his reputation to the level where he is considered for the top job at Old Trafford.
“I sympathise with him because I know he wants to be a manager and one day maybe he’ll be the manager of United – I still stick to that,” Berbatov said.
“His time at Birmingham shows every footballer who’d like to go into management that even if you’re a big name, it can’t save you from the sack.”