Rooney could be awarded 'Freedom of Derby' honour by local council

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Wayne Rooney Derby 2022
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The ex-Manchester United frontman has received plenty of plaudits for his work at Pride Park, despite being unable to save the Rams from relegation

Wayne Rooney could be awarded the 'Freedom of Derby' honour by a local council in recognition of his work as manager of the city's football club.

Rooney initially inherited the managerial reins at Pride Park on a caretaker basis following Derby's poor start to the 2020-21 season, and was handed a permanent contract after pulling them clear of the relegation zone.

The former Manchester United and England striker's first full campaign as Rams boss got off to a nightmare start as the club was plunged into administration with a points deduction last September, but he remained loyal and did his best to keep the team in the Championship.

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What is the 'Freedom of the City' honour Rooney is up for?

The Freedom of the City honour is awarded to either an individual or military unit in acknowledgement of their outstanding service to the city.

Should councillors approve calls for him to receive the award, Rooney will follow in the footsteps of past winners such as Derby legend Brian Clough and the club's former winger Reg Harrison.

What has been said about Rooney?

The motion for Rooney to be considered, which was called by councillor Steve Hassall, reads: "It has not gone unnoticed that Wayne Rooney has been steadfast in his loyalty, support and determination to ensure he and the team remain committed to both the club and fans.

"Wayne Rooney has demonstrated that his integrity, passion and unquestionable loyalty for Derby County Football Club, fans and the city is absolute and we could not have asked for a better figurehead to champion our cause and lead in all senses of the word, during such perilous times.

"To Wayne Rooney, this city gives its wholehearted thanks and in recognition of our gratitude we would like to bestow one of our oldest and highest honours to someone we are all proud to say is one of our own. Wayne Rooney you are a Ram."

Rooney's turbulent 2021-22 campaign at Derby

Derby were deducted 12 points after entering into administration, but that total rose to 21 in November as the club was punished for breaches of the English Football League’s profitability and sustainability rules under ex-owner Mel Morris.

Rooney's side had a mountain to climb in order to avoid the drop as a result, but a strong run of form between January and February gave supporters a brief glimmer of hope that the Rams could pull off a great escape.

Unfortunately, Derby were unable to maintain their run, and their relegation to League One was confirmed following a 1-0 defeat at QPR on April 18.

Rooney said he was "proud" of his players for their efforts throughout the season, though, and it has been reported that he will stay on as manager as long as a proposed takeover goes through in the coming weeks.

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