Wayne Rooney's former Everton teammate to rival ex-Leeds United manager for Birmingham City job

Wayne Rooney was sacked by Birmingham City on Tuesday with his side 20th in the Championship.
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Former Everton midfielder Lee Carsley is among the favourites to take the Birmingham City job, following Wayne Rooney's exit. The ex-Toffees striker was sacked by the Midlands club on Tuesday, lasting less than three months in the role.

Rooney took charge of Birmingham in October with the club sixth in the Championship. But a dismal run of nine defeats in 15 games has seen them drop into 20th, just two places and six points above the relegation zone.

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Birmingham were comfortably beaten 3-0 by promotion-chasing Leeds United on Monday, signalling the end of Rooney's short and unsuccessful tenure at St. Andrew's. And talkSPORT reports that Carsley is among the candidates to take over.

Carsley and Rooney both broke into the Everton team in 2002, the former arriving from Coventry City while the latter was promoted from the academy. They spent two years together at Goodison Park before Rooney joined Manchester United.

Since retiring from playing in 2011, Carsley has cut his teeth in a number of coaching roles with former clubs. He has been involved with the England youth set up since 2020 and been their under-21s manager since 2021. He won the European Championships at that age bracket last summer.

Other candidates for the job include Steve Cooper, who was sacked by Everton's Premier League rivals Nottingham Forest just before Christmas, and former Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch. Ralph Hasenhuttl is also thought to be open to returning to management after leaving Southampton in November 2022.

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Rooney vowed to take a break from football in the aftermath of his sacking, following what has been a woeful spell in charge. The former Toffees man won just 13.3 per cent of his 15 games in charge, an average that is higher than just Gianfranco Zola at the club.

“Football is a results business – and I recognise they have not been at the level I wanted them to be," Rooney said in a statement released on Monday. "However, time is the most precious commodity a manager requires and I do not believe 13 weeks was sufficient to oversee the changes that were needed. Personally, it will take me some time to get over this setback.

“I plan to take some time with my family as I prepare for the next opportunity in my journey as a manager.”