28 April 2022

Wayne Rooney dismisses speculation linking him with Burnley job

28 April 2022

Wayne Rooney has played down the latest speculation linking him to Burnley, with Mike Jackson continuing to manage the Clarets on a game-by-game basis.

Jackson stepped up from the under-23s following the sacking of Sean Dyche and has collected seven points from three games to guide the club out of the relegation zone.

Rooney was again strongly linked with Burnley on Thursday following Derby’s relegation to League One, but he denied anything was afoot, saying on derbytelegraph.co.uk: “I heard that this morning on talkSPORT, it is the first I heard of it.

“I think I have said a couple of times now it is a credit to myself and the staff and the job they’ve done that speculation is there, but I have a year left on my contract here. I want to try and bring better days back to this football club.

“Now, of course, that depends, as I have said over the last few weeks, on the takeover going through. If it doesn’t, then of course you might have to reassess that, but, if it goes through, I am here and ready to try and get this club back up into the Championship.”

Jackson held talks this week with chairman Alan Pace but is content to continue under the same arrangement.

He said: “We’ve had regular contact, we spoke about a couple of things, he’s given us his backing and we’re just going to go one game at a time. He’s happy with where we are and we think the best for everybody is the way we’ve been doing it so everyone’s on the same page.”

Jackson insisted he had not thought about his own managerial ambitions, despite his impressive start to life in the hotseat at Turf Moor.

“I’ve not had a chance to think about that,” he said. “It’s not in the front of my mind at this moment in time. The total focus has been can we get this team ready and making sure we keep trying to improve them.”

Burnley face another huge game on Saturday when they take on 19th-placed Watford, and victory at Vicarage Road would not just be a big leap towards safety but would also effectively relegate both Watford and Norwich.

“I wouldn’t be disrespectful to the two teams like that,” said Jackson. “I didn’t even know that. For me it’s just us focusing on us. They’re fighting for their lives, two really good managers. A Roy Hodgson team’s not going to think about that.

“There’s loads of permutations. I can’t read into the future. We stay in the now. That’s the best way to play football.”

Burnley can pile more pressure on Everton below them and Leeds ahead of them, with both teams playing after the Clarets and facing what appear significantly more difficult fixtures.

A third of Burnley’s Premier League victories this campaign have come under Jackson, and he is determined to keep things simple.

The former defender said: “It’s been goo,d but it’s just been about focusing on this next game, learning what we’ve done from the last game, what went well in the previous games, and the biggest thing I keep saying to them is, ‘Can we improve?’ There’s certain things that we know we need to get right.

“This group, with what’s happened, have really rallied round each other and we’ve got to keep that: the players, the fans and the staff right at the heart of it, nothing comes inside that.”

Jackson could have Maxwel Cornet and Jay Rodriguez available, but Erik Pieters, Ben Mee, Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Ashley Westwood remain sidelined.

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