Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he could see Wayne Rooney managing Manchester United in the future, if the club’s record scorer wants it sufficiently.
The 34-year-old faces his old team in the FA Cup fifth round with Derby County on Thursday after returning to England with the Rams from MLS.
Rooney scored 253 goals across 13 seasons at Old Trafford between 2004 and 2017, during which time he won the Premier League title five times as well as the Champions League in 2008.
He left to join Everton in 2017, before departing for the US a year later where he played for DC United.
And Solskjaer believes that with the right application the former England captain could follow in his own footsteps as a former United favourite returning to manager the club.
“It depends on how much you put into the job and how much you want it,” Solskjaer said to Sky Sports
“It takes over your life but it’s the best – the second best – after playing so I’m sure there’s many ex-players and manager that would like to have my job.”
Rooney faced United twice as an Everton player in 2017-18, though he ended up on the losing side in both games as his boyhood club were beaten 4-0 and 2-0.
He said he would celebrate if he netted on Thursday, though he promised not to react with the same level of gusto as he did when returning to Everton during the early years of his United career.
"No, it won't be like that, of course," Rooney said of a repeat of those badge-kissing celebrations.
"I think everyone will understand. I want Derby to win in this game and after the game I'll go back to being a Manchester United fan and wanting them to win in the games after our one."
Derby are currently 13th in the Championship with their hopes of reaching the promotion play-offs virtually ended.
They’re eight points off sixth-place Preston North End with 10 games to go, and stand little chance of returning to the Premier League for the first time since they were relegated in last place in 2008.