Rooney: ‘Ambitious’ Brady key to Birmingham rise

Wayne Rooney has said that “ambitious” Birmingham City minority owner Tom Brady is “fully involved” in the club’s efforts to gain promotion to the Premier League after the former England forward was appointed as the team’s new coach on Wednesday.

Rooney, 37, left his previous role as D.C. United’s coach after their elimination from MLS playoff contention on Saturday and signed a 3½ year deal to become the new Birmingham manager on Wednesday.

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“I have spoken to Tom [Brady], he is very ambitious to move this club forward,” Rooney said in a news conference on Thursday. “It’s great to have him here, it’s important for the players to see Tom Brady have an involvement. It’s very clear that Tom is fully involved in the club.”

Brady, who won seven Super Bowls in the NFL before retiring in February, became chairman of the advisory board and a minority owner of Birmingham in August after entering into a partnership with the club’s owners, Knighthead Capital Management LLC.

Rooney outlined his ambition to lead Birmingham — who play in English football’s second tier — to promotion and a return to the Premier League, 12 years after they were relegated at the end of the 2010-11 season.

“The Premier League is where we want to get to,” Rooney said. “It’s an ambition of mine, it’s an ambition of the club’s and we’re putting everything in place to make sure we do that in the near future.”

The former Manchester United forward admitted he was keen to return to English football after spending time coaching in the U.S.

“To get back into English football is great,” Rooney said. “It’s obviously what I’ve wanted to do and to be honest, I’ve had opportunities over the last four, six weeks at other clubs as well to do that.

“But I think since speaking to Birmingham and seeing the ambitions of the club and where they want to get to excited me. It’s clear that the club want to be successful and everything we spoke about really was very similar. So it was a really easy decision once I’d spoke to them.

“[I’m] happy to be back. Bit jet lagged, still! I haven’t been back for long, but [I’m] just excited to get going.”

Birmingham also announced that former Chelsea defender Ashley Cole and Rooney’s former United teammate John O’Shea will form part of the club’s new first-team coaching staff.

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