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Rooney: Derby players will ‘see me for who I am’ (1:00)

Wayne Rooney dives into his role at Derby County and how players have responded to his presence. (1:00)

Wayne Rooney said on Friday he was frustrated at not being able to feature for Derby County before his stint as player-coach officially begins in January.

The 34-year-old striker, Manchester United and England’s most prolific scorer, signed an initial 18-month deal at the Championship side and will also work with the first team as he chases his dream of being a manager.

Rooney, who last played for MLS side D.C. United in October, said he was raring to go on his return to England after receiving a rousing ovation from the home support when he was introduced for the first time on Nov. 30.

“It’s been frustrating not to play but I’m excited to get started in January,” Rooney told a news conference. “The last few weeks have been good. I have been getting to know the staff, players and getting ready for games coming up. I feel settled in and I’m ready to go now.

“The manager [Phillip Cocu] has been great with me. I’ve been training with the players and had the input with coaches off the field. It’s great to work with Phillip and learn.”

Derby, who missed out on promotion to the Premier League under Chelsea boss Frank Lampard last season, are 16th with 26 points after 21 matches in the current campaign — eight points adrift of the playoff positions.

“It’s a tight league. We are not too far off the playoff spots so it’s about being consistent and putting good runs together. If we do that then we can climb up the table,” the former England captain added.

“In the three games I’ve been at there has been a lack of urgency and composure and we haven’t created enough chances. It’s something we’re going to put right.

“It was a great experience in the United States, but the challenge is to get Derby into the Premier League.”

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