Wayne Rooney labels Championship as a 'tough league' after debut loss

Wayne Rooney claims top Premier League managers would struggle in the Championship as Birmingham’s boss admits it’s a ‘tough league’ after Middlesbrough defeat

  • Rooney suffered a 2-1 loss against Middlesbrough in his return to English football
  • The Birmingham City boss has since talked up the standard of the division
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’ 

Wayne Rooney believes the superstar bosses of the Premier League would be in for a shock if they had to work in the Championship.

The former England captain is preparing to take charge of his first home game as Birmingham boss – against Hull on Wednesday – after beginning his Blues reign with defeat at Middlesbrough last Saturday.

This is Rooney’s third job in management after eventful spells with Derby and US club DC United. While he hopes for calmer waters at St Andrew’s, Rooney will still have to perform juggling acts that elite bosses no longer have to worry about.

‘You’re not going to see top managers dropping down to the Championship because it’s tough and you have to adapt,’ said Rooney.

‘You obviously haven’t got the best players in the world, so you have to think outside the box at times. It’s a tough league.

Wayne Rooney suffered a 2-1 defeat in his first match as Birmingham City manager on Saturday

Rooney later suggested Premier League coaches would, similarly, struggle in the Championship. Pictured: Man City boss Pep Guardiola (L) and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp (R)

‘You need to be ready and it’s lot of work, of course it’s long hours, long travelling days, games.’

Rooney’s appointment raised eyebrows as John Eustace had Birmingham sixth in the table before he was sacked earlier in October.

But Manchester United’s record goalscorer is determined to impose a bolder style of play, despite numerous teething problems at Middlesbrough. He referenced his own career at Old Trafford, when Rooney had to play with numerous strike partners during his 13 years at the club, as proof of the need to adapt.

He added: ‘I played alongside Ruud van Nistelrooy, then Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, Louis Saha, Dimitar Berbatov, Robin van Persie. Whenever players come in, you’re always feeling they could take your place.

‘But you fight for your place and what you want. As a manager, there’s a change. There will be moments where it’s difficult but once you get through that bedding in period, you’ll see the benefit.’


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify.

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