Roy Hodgson believes Wayne Rooney can follow his fellow England centurions Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard to become a top manager when he retires.
The former England boss who handed 100 international caps to the iconic trio was fortunate enough to work with some top talent during his time in the post, and is now a direct coaching rival of those he once called upon.
Lampard is a Premier League foe of Hodgson at Crystal Palace after taking the reins at Chelsea.
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Gerrard is also making waves in the management game at Scottish giants Rangers and is considered by many to be a future Liverpool boss in waiting.
Rooney may be the next ex-England captain to emulate on-field success in the dugout, with the 34-year-old cutting his teeth as a player-coach at Derby – the club that helped to provide a springboard for Lampard.
The Manchester United legend is dedicating more of his time to playing duties at present, but Hodgson expects a seamless transition to be made to management once the day comes for Rooney to hang up his boots.
He said: “We have seen two other players of the same generation.
“I gave Wayne his 100th cap, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard both earned their 100th cap playing for England during my time there. Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are making a hell of a go of their management careers so why shouldn’t Wayne be included in that?
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“He is a leader type – there is no question of that.
“All three of those had leadership qualities that they were able to show on the field of play. That is what the real good leaders are. It is not just a question of talking a good game or being persuasive verbally, it is a question of being able to get on the field of play and show leadership qualities when you need them.”
Hodgson is not expecting Rooney to head into retirement any time soon, with a recent spell in MLS at D.C. United proving that he still has plenty to offer, with age just a number to players with his ambition and ability.
The Eagles boss added: “Knowing Wayne as I do I don’t expect him to make that decision too soon.
“I know how much he loves to play and he is still a very good footballer so I would be expecting him to be helping Derby as a player for a period of time to come.
“Age is not even a cliché – it is a simple statement of fact. Age is the number that you actually have as shown on your birth certificate but has absolutely no relevance to how you feel and how you are capable of performing in any walk of life. Why should football be any different?
“We have got people running top companies dealing with billions of pounds who are a lot older than 34 and still capable of doing their job. It will be a question of when Wayne’s body tells him: ‘I can’t do this anymore to the level I want to do it at’. But he doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of that at the moment.”