Wayne Rooney has stepped down as manager of embattled Derby County.
The former Manchester United, Everton and England forward ended his playing career with the Rams before taking his first step in management with the club in November 2020.
Derby were plunged into administration at the start of last season and were relegated from the Sky Bet Championship despite Rooney leading a valiant fight against the drop in the face of a combined 21-point deduction.
In a statement, the League One club said on Friday: "Wayne Rooney has today informed Derby County Football Club that he wishes to be relieved of his duties as first team manager with immediate effect."
Rooney said of his decision: "Over the course of the summer I have been closely following developments regarding the ownership of Derby County.
"Today I met with the administrators to inform them of my decision that it was time for me to leave the club. In fairness to them, they tried tremendously hard to change my decision but my mind was made up.
"My time at the club has been a rollercoaster of emotions, both highs and lows, but I have to say that I have enjoyed the challenge."
Rooney added: "Personally, I feel the club now needs to be led by someone with fresh energy and not affected by the events that have happened over the last 18 months.
"I will remember my time at Derby with great pride and affection and would like to thank all my staff, players and of course the fans for their incredible support.
"I will never forget you and hope to see you all again in the near future and in happier times.
"Finally, I am aware that the club still have interested parties who wish to take over the running of the club.
"To them I say this, Derby County is a great club with a great history and great fans. I wish you all the best and much success for the future."
A spokesperson on behalf of the joint administrators of Derby said: "The joint administrators are very disappointed that Wayne has taken the difficult decision to leave the club and we have spent some time today trying to persuade him to stay but understand his reasons for wanting to go.
"We are extremely grateful to him for his excellent work in the face of challenging on-field circumstances in the 2021-22 season and admire the manner in which he has led the team, the club and the local community through various off-field issues.
"The joint administrators recognise that staff and supporters will be frustrated and equally disappointed by this news, but we all wish him, his wife Coleen and their four boys every success in the future and we are sure they will always be welcomed back.
"All parties recognise the need to conclude a sale of the business and assets of the club as a matter of urgency and the joint administrators wish to reconfirm that Wayne's departure will not affect those ongoing, positive discussions."
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