Wayne Rooney was a no-nonsense footballer and that’s exactly how he started his managerial career.
The Manchester United and England legend was appointed permanent Rams boss in January after an impressive run of results as caretaker boss.
And in an exclusive interview with talkSPORT, Rooney revealed the ultimatum he gave in his first meeting with his new players – give me everything or get out!
“I believe I have the ability and knowledge to get us out of the bottom three come the end of the season. That’s why I took the job, I knew it was going to be a tough job,” Rooney said on Darren Bent’s Boot Room.
“The first thing I had to do was lift the players. I brought honesty amongst the players.
“My first meeting, I said to the players ‘I demand a lot from you on the training pitch. If you’re playing well, you’ve got a good chance of playing. If you don’t want to do that and put the work in, you can leave the club’.”
Rooney signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with Derby with his first task of firefighting their season and pulling them away from the relegation battle.
They’re currently nine points clear of the drop zone, so Rooney can perhaps start thinking about how the club progresses.
He’s certainly not thinking beyond the Rams right now.
He added: “I have to focus on my job at Derby. I feel I’ve got a big job here, a big responsibility to the football club.
“Whatever happens in the future, you don’t know of course, if you’re asking any manager ‘do you have any ambitions to work at the top, like the Champions League or Premier League?’
“The important thing is how we recruit in the next 12-18 months. I really believe that we are onto something special here at Derby.”