Champions League and Premier League winning former Chelsea and Arsenal star named coach at Championship club

Wayne Rooney has brought a former Arsenal and Chelsea star with him to Birmingham City
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Ex-Arsenal and Chelsea player Ashley Cole has been named as part of Wayne Rooney’s coaching staff at Birmingham City after the former Manchester United star was named head coach of the Championship club on Wednesday.

Rooney has signed a three-and-a-half year deal with the Blues, just days after leaving MLS side D.C. United. Birmingham were in the market for a new head coach after the departure of John Eustace earlier this week, despite the 43-yer-old guiding the club to sixth in the Championship this season.

Rooney has been joined at Birmingham by Cole as well as ex-United teammate John O’Shea. A club statement confirmed: “Birmingham City Football Club is delighted to announce the appointment of Wayne Rooney as Manager, agreeing terms on a three-and-a-half-year contract. He starts with immediate effect having recently left his position as Head Coach of Major League Soccer side D.C. United.

“Rooney is supported by his former England international teammate Ashley Cole, the current England Under-21s assistant coach, John O’Shea, the assistant coach of the Republic of Ireland men’s national team and Carl Robinson and Pete Shuttleworth who both assisted Rooney at DC United. Shuttleworth was also part of his coaching team at Derby County. Ashley Cole and John O’Shea will retain their coaching roles with their respective national sides.”

Rooney commented: “I am absolutely delighted to be joining Birmingham City Football Club at such an exciting time. It is very clear that they have a plan and are committed to realising their ambition for the club. We are fully aligned on what is expected. I have been building my managerial career, putting myself in challenging environments, to get me ready for this opportunity. It’s a project that gives me a sense of purpose and I can’t wait to get started.

“We have some exciting young players in the squad, and some who are still to break through into the First Team, alongside a core of experienced senior professionals. I have a clear way that I want the team to play, and my coaching staff and I will work hard to implement it. We will create a winning culture here with an identity that gets Blues fans on their feet.

“I’ve played at St. Andrew’s and Birmingham City fans were always loud and passionate about their team. It was a really difficult place to come as an opponent and now I get to experience what it is like to have them behind us. My job is to elevate the Club to the next level and I can’t wait to get started. I know what the expectations are and our job is to deliver.”

Cole started coaching with Derby County alongside Frank Lampard and was named an assistant coach of England Under-21s in July 2021. He joined Lampard at Everton last year and left in February when Lampard was sacked.

The 42-year-old won two Premier League titles with Arsenal, and was part of the Invincible side during the 2003-04 season. He won a third league title with Chelsea in 2010 and won the Champions League with the Stamford Bridge club in 2012. He has also won the FA Cup seven times. In total he made 337 appearances for Chelsea, 228 for Arsenal and also had spells with LA Galaxy, AS Roma, Crystal Palace and Derby.