Wayne Rooney says he would walk to Manchester City if Pep Guardiola asked him to become his assistant.

Rooney became Manchester United’s record scorer during 13 years at Old Trafford from 2004, scoring 253 goals in 559 appearances for the Red Devils.

The former England captain was linked with a move to City after handing in a transfer request at United in 2010.

Rooney eventually patched up his differences with manager Sir Alex Ferguson and stayed at Old Trafford for another seven years.

But, less than two months after his 15-game spell as Birmingham manager came to an end, the 38-year-old admits he would be open to the idea of working on the blue side of Manchester.

“It depends (on whether I’d ever be an assistant) – if Pep Guardiola comes in and asks me to be his assistant, you’d walk there,” Rooney told the Stick to Football podcast.

“You see what (Mikel) Arteta is doing now (at Arsenal) and I strongly believe a lot of that is from learning what Guardiola was doing, and so it depends on what the situation is.

“For me, the best manager is Pep and you look at how he adapts – how they (City) are playing now is not the same as how they were playing four years ago.

“He keeps making these subtle changes and then you see everyone else trying to do the same. They also work harder than anyone else.”

City, the English, European and FIFA World Club Cup champions, are 12 points better off in the Premier League than sixth-placed United, and Rooney says it is “frustrating” watching his former team under Erik ten Hag.

He said: “There’s talent in there. But I just think there’s a mindset that needs to change.

“You watch some games and I think, ‘Really good’. But then all of a sudden it’s like a switch that’s been flicked.

“They can go from being really good to really bad. There’s a lack of consistency.”

Rooney has been linked to a possible switch to boxing, with the self-confessed fight fan confirming there have been talks to get him in the ring.

He also expressed an interest in becoming a lawyer during a recent media interview, saying he had applied to Nottingham University to study criminal law when he was at Derby.

Rooney laughed on the podcast when recalling telling lawyers what to ask during his wife Coleen’s ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel trial with Rebekah Vardy in 2022.

But Rooney insists his focus is firmly on returning to management after spells at Derby, Major League Soccer side DC United and Birmingham.

“It’s all experience – I’m only 38, I’ve had three managerial jobs but I’ve got quite a bit of experience to lean on,” said Rooney.

“If you look at the three clubs I’ve managed, going in at Derby under their circumstances in administration, DC United who were bottom of the league when I went over there, and now Birmingham, who over the past 10 years have been a mess.

“I want to focus on getting back into management. The main thing for me is to completely cut out what I’ve done as a player and almost start again as a manager.

“Of course, my playing experience will help me, but I’m right at the bottom from a managerial point of view, and I want to work my way up.

“I’m not relying on what I’ve done as a player to get me into places that I shouldn’t be.

“I want to get back into managing and I want to prove myself – whether that’s League Two, League One or Championship.”

Wayne Rooney ended speculation over his future to sign a new five-and-a-half-year contract at Manchester United on this day in 2014.

The forward had been linked with a move away from Old Trafford months earlier after Sir Alex Ferguson retired and was replaced by David Moyes.

With only 18 months to go on his deal, Rooney agreed fresh terms until the summer of 2019 and made clear his ambition to break Sir Bobby Charlton’s record of 249 goals for the Red Devils.


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On a new contract worth up to £300,000 a week, Rooney would spend another three seasons at United and finish with 253 goals from 559 appearances.

The attacker broke Charlton’s record on January 21, 2017 with a free-kick at Stoke and a week later was presented with a commemorative Golden Boot to acknowledge him becoming the club’s all-time leading goalscorer.

After five Premier League titles, three League Cups, plus solitary success in the Champions League, Europa League, Club World Cup and FA Cup, Rooney left Old Trafford to return to boyhood side Everton.

His second spell at Goodison Park was short-lived and, after stints with DC United in the United States and at Derby in the Championship, Rooney retired from professional football at the start of 2021 to take over as manager of the Rams.

The former England captain also bettered Charlton’s record of 49 goals for his country and finished with 53 from 120 appearances, but was overtaken by Harry Kane last year.

Rooney was most recently manager of Birmingham.

A stoppage-time goal from Koji Miyoshi earned Birmingham a 2-1 win over Hull in their FA Cup third-round replay.

The result earned Tony Mowbray his first victory since taking over as manager at St Andrew’s following the sacking of Wayne Rooney.

Birmingham had to come back from a goal down to win the tie after Jason Lokilo’s first goal for Hull put them ahead after 12 minutes.

Mowbray made five substitutions just past the hour-mark and it was a move that changed the game.

Two of those substitutes scored, with Jay Stansfield equalising three minutes after coming on.

Both sides named differing line-ups for the tie, with Birmingham making seven changes from the weekend and Hull 11, presumably with Friday’s match against Sunderland in mind.

Birmingham threatened more in the opening minutes, with Keshi Anderson and Gary Gardner testing goalkeeper Matt Ingram.

However, it was Hull who opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a superbly executed move.

Billy Sharp, in his first start for Hull, made the most of a slip by Krystian Bielik and found James Furlong on the left. His cross was converted first time by Lokilo from eight yards.

The former Crystal Palace youngster made a summer move to Humberside from Dutch side Sparta Rotterdam.

Hull went in search of a second goal, but Greg Docherty’s long-range effort swung away from the target.

Birmingham sensed an equaliser and when Jordan James delivered a ball into the area, Romelle Donovan just failed to connect with it in front of goal.

Gardner’s overhead kick was met by Bielik six minutes before the break, but he headed wide of the target.

Blues goalkeeper John Ruddy kept his side’s deficit to one goal when he made an important save from Hull forward Tyrell Sellars-Fleming.

Jordan James responded for Mowbray’s side with an angled shot that flew just wide of the far post.

Mowbray’s raft of changes had an immediate effect as two substitutes combined to score the equaliser. Miyoshi’s shot was pushed out by Ingram, with Stansfield converting the rebound for his eighth goal of the season.

Siriki Dembele almost scored a second for Birmingham when he floated a long-range effort narrowly wide.

With extra-time looming, Miyoshi forced the ball home after being supplied by Stansfield to book a fourth-round trip to Leicester.

Luke Littler became the youngest player ever to reach the final of the World Darts Championship when he defeated Rob Cross on Tuesday.

The 16-year-old now has a shot at claiming an historic place in the sport as he takes aim at the title at Alexandra Palace.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of sport’s other teenage prodigies in recent years.

Wayne Rooney – 16 years old

Though his breakthrough moment undoubtedly came when he scored past David Seaman from 30 yards in October 2002 to end champions Arsenal’s 30-game unbeaten Premier League run, Rooney had actually made his senior Everton debut two months earlier against Tottenham, setting up a goal for Mark Pembridge in a 2-2 draw.

England’s Euro 2004 opener against France in Portugal shot him to international stardom before he signed for Manchester United later that summer, going on to become all-time top scorer for both United (253) and for England (53), though his international tally has since been surpassed by Harry Kane.

Ronnie O’Sullivan – 17

O’Sullivan became the youngest-ever winner of a ranking event when, aged 17, he beat Stephen Hendry to claim the 1993 UK Snooker Championship. Two years later, he was victorious in the 1995 Masters to add another record to his CV by the age of 19, both accolades that he still holds.

Victory in the 2022 Snooker World Championship was his eighth, drawing him level with Hendry for most wins, as he has lived up to the excitement that accompanied his arrival onto the scene more than 30 years ago to become one of the sport’s all-time greats.

Sky Brown – 13

The skateboarder became the UK’s youngest-ever Olympian when she competed at the Tokyo games aged just 13 and followed it up by becoming the country’s youngest medal winner when she took bronze in the women’s park skateboarding event.

She has continued to set records in the years since, most recently by becoming the first British winner at the skateboarding World Championships in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates in February 2023.

Cesc Fabregas – 16

Fabregas became Arsenal’s youngest-ever player when he made his first-team debut in a League Cup tie against Rotherham at Highbury in September 2003 and clocked another club record when he scored his first goal in the next round in a 5-1 win over Wolves.

It was the following season though that his true breakthrough arrived, taking up a regular place in the team’s midfield aged 17 at the start of the 2003/04 season as they sought to defend the title won the previous campaign. He went on to win two league titles with Chelsea as well as the 2010 World Cup and two European Championships with Spain.

Gianluigi Donnarumma – 16

AC Milan were in the midst of their decade-long barren spell when Donnarumma was thrust into the first team at the age of 16 in 2015, preferred to the veteran club legend Christian Abbiati and former number one Diego Lopez.

Standing at a height of 6ft 5in, he took up the mantel of first-choice goalkeeper with a stature that defied his young years, and the following year became Italy’s second-youngest ever goalkeeper when he made his international debut in a friendly against France. He has since helped the team to win Euro 2020 where he saved two penalties in the final shootout against England.

Wayne Rooney has been sacked as manager of Birmingham after less than three months in charge and says he will “take some time to get over” his dismissal.

The former Manchester United and England striker has overseen just two wins in 15 games following his controversial appointment at St Andrew’s in October.

Supporters called for Rooney’s removal as the side slumped to a 3-0 defeat at Leeds on New Year’s Day. The result left the club 20th in the table having been sixth when Rooney took charge.

Rooney, however, has said he does not feel he was given long enough and it would take a while to recover from the decision.

A club statement read: “Birmingham City has today parted company with manager Wayne Rooney and first-team coach Carl Robinson.

“Despite their best efforts, results have not met the expectations that were made clear at the outset. Therefore, the board feels that a change in management is in the best interests of the football club.”

Rooney has said he is now planning to take a break from the game.

The 38-year-old, who has previously managed at Derby and DC United, said in a statement: “Football is a results business – and I recognise they have not been at the level I wanted them to be.

“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 have been involved in professional football, as either a player or manager, since I was 16.

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

Rooney was controversially brought in at the expense of popular former boss John Eustace by the club’s new ownership group. A takeover by a company owned by American businessman Tom Wagner was completed last summer.

Eustace had lifted Blues away from relegation trouble during a 15-month spell.

Chief executive Garry Cook said: “We are committed to doing what is necessary to bring success to St Andrew’s.

“Unfortunately, Wayne’s time with us did not go as planned and we have decided to move in a different direction.

“The search for a successor begins with immediate effect and we will update supporters when we have further news.”

Professional development coach Steve Spooner will take responsibility for men’s first-team matters on an interim basis.

Wayne Rooney’s short tenure as Birmingham manager has come to an end with his sacking on Tuesday morning.

The former England striker, who signed a three-and-a-half-year contract at St Andrew’s in October, headed into the role with a 27 per cent win rate across his first two jobs with Derby and DC United – an overall figure that has dropped to 26 per cent.

Here, the PA news agency looks at his record in detail.


Rooney moved from his playing role at Derby into the manager’s seat, initially sharing the job with Liam Rosenior, Shay Given and Justin Walker before taking sole charge.

They were bottom of the Championship at the time but climbed to 18th, eight points clear of the relegation zone, before a late-season slump saw them survive by just a point.

Their relegation the following season came after a total of 21 points were deducted – 12 for entering administration and nine for historical financial breaches.

They rallied with three successive wins in December 2021 and 10 in their final 25 games of the season and without the deductions would have finished 17th on 55 points.

He won 24, drew 22 and lost 39 of his 85 games as manager, including those with the managerial group in charge, for a 28.2 per cent win rate.

DC United

That win percentage dipped to 25.9 with DC United as Rooney was unable to make his mark as a head coach in Major League Soccer.

His side were mathematically eliminated from play-off contention in the 2023 season despite the win over New York City on October 8 that marked the end of Rooney’s reign.

Rooney’s “mutually agreed” departure came with him having been boss for the whole of that season and the last 15 of the 2022 campaign.

His final record in all competitions, including two games in the US Open Cup and three in the Leagues Cup, read won 14, drew 14, lost 26.


Rooney was appointed as boss of Birmingham – who were taken over by United States-based Shelby Companies Limited in July and had seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady become a minority owner the following month – two days on from the sacking of John Eustace while lying sixth in the Championship table.

He spoke of the goal of promotion, but defeat in his first match, 1-0 at Middlesbrough, set the tone and another 14 games later he departs with the team languishing in 20th place.

Blues registered victories in only two of Rooney’s 15 matches, with nine losses, for a win percentage of 13.3.

That gives him an overall managerial record of 40 wins from 154 games (26 per cent), with 40 draws and 74 defeats.

Wayne Rooney has been sacked as manager of Sky Bet Championship club Birmingham.

The former Manchester United and England striker has overseen just two wins in 15 games following his controversial appointment at St Andrew’s in October.

Supporters called for Rooney’s removal as the side slumped to a 3-0 defeat at Leeds on New Year’s Day.

A club statement read: “Birmingham City has today parted company with manager Wayne Rooney and first-team coach Carl Robinson.

“Despite their best efforts, results have not met the expectations that were made clear at the outset. Therefore, the board feels that a change in management is in the best interests of the football club.

Chief executive Garry Cook said: “We are committed to doing what is necessary to bring success to St Andrew’s.

“Unfortunately, Wayne’s time with us did not go as planned and we have decided to move in a different direction.

“The search for a successor begins with immediate effect and we will update supporters when we have further news.”

Blues – now 20th in the table – were sixth when Rooney was brought in by the club’s new ownership group at the expense of popular former boss John Eustace.

Eustace had taken charge 15 months previously and successfully steered the club away from relegation.

A change of thinking at the club came last summer after a takeover by a company owned by American businessman Tom Wagner.

Wayne Rooney was pleased to see Birmingham keep a clean sheet after his side drew 0-0 with Bristol City at St Andrew’s.

Rooney, who has had only two wins from his first 14 games as Blues boss, unashamedly admitted that after shipping nine goals in the previous three matches, he wanted to end that defensive rot.

“I am really pleased with the clean sheet, from the last three games and the goals we have conceded,” he said.

“I thought we could have done more in attacking areas but we defended well as a group, we were compact, were hard to play through and really nullified Bristol’s opportunities.

“It wasn’t a classic to watch I get that but we had to really have a big priority today in keeping a clean sheet.

“You always want more and with the three changes I tried to bring some energy on to give us a bit of a boost.

“When you are conceding goals you look at what you can do to change that, we want to play more attacking and entertaining football moving forward – but we had to really prioritise not conceding tonight.

“When you are conceding goals you have to make a decision if you want to go full out and try and score three, four goals. We have been scoring goals but we had to make sure we were solid – that was a gameplan for us today.

Liam Manning focused on the positives of a result that keeps Bristol City within three points of the play-off places.

Manning’s side dominated possession but were unable to produce a shot on target or break down a massed Birmingham defence.

Manny Longelo was the only player to work the goalkeeper, a weak drive straight at Max O’Leary in the first half, while Robins’ Anis Mehmeti had two chances to open the scoring before the break – and Manning was relatively content after extending his team’s unbeaten run to four games.

“In terms of the control we had I thought we probably created the better chances in terms of the two headers that Anis had,” Manning said.

“I thought we restricted them to very few chances, they had a couple of shots from distance but apart from that didn’t trouble us too often.

“It was just a case of whether we had the quality to break down their block.

“Unfortunately we didn’t have. But at the same point the big positives for me were a clean sheet and another game away from home where we pick up a point and we move on.

“They had a game plan to try and stop us which for me shows an element of respect for us and how far we have come as a group that we are coming away here and they are setting up to block at home.

“Let’s give credit to our lads for earning the right for them to do that. I felt if one team was going to win it it was going to be us.”

Birmingham manager Wayne Rooney admitted he could have replaced his whole team at half-time after a 3-1 Championship defeat to Stoke at St Andrew’s.

First-half goals from Jordan Thompson and Lynden Gooch put Stoke 2-0 ahead and Andre Vidigal made it three before Jay Stansfield’s 69th-minute consolation as Stoke ended a nine-match winless run and moved above Blues on goal difference.

Rooney has taken just nine points out of 39 since taking over, to leave Blues 19th in the table, just seven points clear of the relegation zone.

Rooney has suffered eight defeats and home fans began streaming out after Stoke’s third goal, while those that were left jeered the team off at the end.

“Ideally, you wish you could have 11 subs as I could have changed all 11 players at half-time,” said Rooney.

“We just weren’t doing the right things – the basics. It wasn’t lack of effort, that would be unfair to say. It was lack of game knowledge.

“It’s hard to put into words. I didn’t see that performance coming. I didn’t recognise the team out there on the pitch.

“It’s frustrating because over the last few games we’d made some real strides, so this was difficult to take.

“It wasn’t the result, or the performance, or anything we wanted to be honest. It was unrecognisable in the way we played.

“I felt the players didn’t want to take the ball, they didn’t press the way we wanted them to.

“The goals we conceded were crazy and we didn’t deserve anything out of the game.”

Stoke led in the 12th minute through Thompson’s 25-yard drive – his first strike for three years – which took a slight deflection off Juninho Bacuna.

Potter captain Gooch doubled their lead on the half-hour after darting down the left in a lightning counter-attack and poking the ball through goalkeeper John Ruddy’s legs.

The Potters made it 3-0 after 53 minutes when Vidigal beat Dion Sanderson before lifting the ball over Ruddy to send Birmingham fans heading for the exits.

The hosts pulled one back through Stansfield after goalkeeper Jack Bonham saved teenage substitute Romelle Donovan’s effort.

New Stoke head coach Steven Schumacher maintained his unbeaten start, making it four points from his first two games in charge and admitted a back-to-basics approach was working for him.

“What we’ve tried to do with the lads is just set some pretty basic, simple ground rules,” he said.

“These are about how we’re going to try to behave at the training ground and what we expect, what are the non-negotiables and how we’re going to try to play, with and without the ball.

“We showed some bits of quality so that was really pleasing and we managed to do enough to get the three points that we desperately wanted and needed.

“When you come into a job, you’re desperate just to get the first win and we’ve done that now.”

Stoke ended a nine-match winless streak to beat Birmingham 3-1 in the Championship and put manager Wayne Rooney into more trouble at St Andrew’s.

Victory for the Potters – secured by Jordan Thompson, Lynden Gooch and Andrew Vidigal before Jay Stansfield’s late consolation – was the first for new manager Steven Schumacher in his second match in charge, and the first since they beat Middlesbrough 2-0 on October 28.

Rooney can only look on in envy at the record of his former Everton youth team-mate as the former England and Manchester United captain has now taken nine points from a possible 39 available as Birmingham were jeered off.

Stansfield was twice denied as Birmingham started on the front foot.

But it was Stoke who stunned a raucous St Andrew’s by taking the lead after just 12 minutes.

Skipper Gooch’s shot was cleared off the line by Emanuel Aiwu after Vidigal’s cross was allowed to travel right across Blues’ box.

But the ball fell for Thompson, whose 25-yard bullet flew past goalkeeper John Ruddy into the bottom right-hand corner after being deflected off Juninho Bacuna.

Birmingham huffed and puffed as they tried to find a way back in to the game.

Boos rang out from frustrated home fans as Vidigal ballooned over on the half-hour mark when he should have scored as Birmingham’s back-four disappeared yet again.

The boos rang right around the ground just a minute later as Gooch darted down the left in a lightning counter before coolly slotting under Ruddy to double Stoke’s lead.

James held his head in his hands after coming within a whisker of sliding home Aiwu’s fantastic ball deep into the first 45.

But Vidigal nearly bagged a third for the visitors as he volleyed just over with Ruddy well off his line on the brink of half-time.

Marc Roberts wasted the chance to pull one back when he headed Bacuna’s dinked ball wide from five yards.

Birmingham were made to pay a heavy price as the Potters made it 3-0 after 54 minutes.

Wouter Burger fed Vidigal, who twisted inside skipper Dion Sanderson before lifting the ball over Ruddy to send shell-shocked Birmingham fans heading for the exits.

Stoke supporters chanted “You’re getting sacked in the morning” at Rooney as Blues struggled to lay a glove on them.

Ruddy smothered at the feet of Ryan Mmaee before the hosts grabbed a goal back after 69 minutes through Stansfield.

Teenage substitute Romelle Donovan, 17, saw his effort saved by keeper Jack Bonham after a brilliant mazy run before the loose ball was swept in by Stansfield.

Plymouth director of football Neil Dewsnip was delighted with managerless Argyle’s comeback from 3-1 down to record a 3-3 Championship draw with Wayne Rooney’s Birmingham.

Despite being reduced to 10 men by the early second-half dismissal of Krystian Bielik, City raced into 3-1 lead thanks to goals by Jay Stansfield, Jordan James and Junino Bacuna, who set-up City’s two first-half goals.

Argyle skipper Joe Edwards’ late first-half goal made it 2-1 before Ben Waine netted ahead of Morgan Whittaker’s superb 86th-minute leveller.

Dewsnip said: “I really enjoyed the experience, am really proud of the players, the supporters – they are really fantastic – and really proud to lead the team.

“We came back from two goals down and nearly sneak it at the end. We conceded three goals so we know we have got a bit of work to do.

“At the start of the game, the first period was difficult for the players, they have had some week because they have lost a manager they think highly of.

“We said to the players at half-time ‘we are still in the game and we will start again and go from there’.

“Joe (Edwards) was strong leader in the dressing room, we supported them to put out that performance.

“We nearly got the winner. What a moment that would have been.

“We are going to win one eventually away from home so why not at Cardiff (on Boxing Day).”

Former boss Steven Schumacher left Plymouth to take charge of Stoke earlier this week but Dewsnip admitted he was not to right man to fill the vacancy on a full-time basis.

He added: “It feels a bit strange; but I am not going to be the next manager, we are looking for a manager and have started that process and will hopefully get someone very soon.”

Rooney took the positives from earning a point, saying: “We looked really dangerous. We go 2-0 up and a mistake before half-time lets them back in it.

“Then the red card just after half-time – which I don’t think is a red card – was a big moment in the game which makes it more difficult for us.

“The lads put a real shift in and we went 3-1 up. Under pressure we failed to see the game out. We are all disappointed in the end not to win but a positive is that we got something.

“I thought with the personnel of the players we had on the pitch for us to stay in the game, at 2-1, I felt we could be a threat on the break and we get the third goal from that. We just didn’t hold on that 3-1 lead for long enough.

“Then the crowd got behind them and it was a good finish from Morgan to make it 3-3. We were getting blocks in and defending the box well and limited Plymouth to shots from the edge of the box which we were OK with.

“Morgan is Plymouth’s most dangerous player and he only needed that half-opportunity and he gets the equaliser.

“We know Plymouth are a good team, they move the ball well, but we felt we would get opportunities at goal if we had a good shape about us in our attacking half.

“We felt we could cause them problems, which we did. The positive is that we didn’t lose the game.”

Callum O’Hare netted a brace as Coventry beat Birmingham 2-0 at the CBS Arena.

The former Aston Villa midfielder had not scored for over 18 months after suffering a serious knee injury on Boxing Day last year and was starting just his second game since returning from injury.

The 25-year-old opened the scoring after he was played in by Milan van Ewijk before his superb solo goal made the three points safe in the second half.

O’Hare’s goals also meant Mark Robins’ men claimed their second consecutive home win, moving them above Blues and up to 14th in the table.

Blues’ woes under Wayne Rooney continued as Birmingham were handed their sixth loss in nine games since the former Manchester United striker replaced John Eustace and had John Ruddy to thank that the deficit was kept to one for the majority of the second half.

The visitors had started positively when Coventry failed to clear their lines and Krystian Bielik’s effort was saved by Brad Collins.

Collins had to be on hand again a minute later to keep Juninho Bacuna’s effort at bay.

Coventry started to get a foothold in the game midway through the first half and looked a threat down the right through Van Ewijk, whose cross found O’Hare but his effort was beaten away by Ruddy.

Robins’ side opened the scoring on the half-hour mark when Van Ewijk and O’Hare combined again before the 25-year-old held off the challenge of Lee Buchanan to stab his effort in at the near post in front of over 26,000 spectators in the CBS Arena.

The Sky Blues then had appeals for a penalty waved away when the ball struck Koji Miyoshi on the arm before half-time.

Coventry went in search of a second after the break as Haji Wright had a hat-trick of chances to extend the lead.

Firstly, the American met Van Ewijk’s pinpoint cross but his downward header was comfortable for Ruddy, who then bravely blocked Wright’s second effort with his face a minute later after the forward beat Bacuna down the left.

Ruddy was called into action again when he gathered Wright’s low effort after he cut inside from the left for a second time after O’Hare’s delightful outside-of-the-foot pass.

Van Ewijk was next to test Ruddy’s resolve when his powerful free-kick was clawed away by the former Norwich keeper before Tatsuhiro Sakamato’s effort was also kept out.

O’Hare completed his brace and gave Coventry breathing space on 77 minutes with a superb solo effort.

Dancing across the box, terrified Birmingham defenders watched on as O’Hare blasted in his second to complete a memorable night for the Sky Blues midfielder.

Wayne Rooney said his Birmingham squad need to show improvements as he was left frustrated by a “very bad” performance against Rotherham in the Sky Bet Championship as the Blues were held to a 0-0 draw.

Rooney and Birmingham were booed off the pitch after failing to defeat a struggling Rotherham side still winless on the road this season, with minority owner Tom Brady in attendance.

Rooney admitted it was not a good game and his side were fortunate to come away with a point.

“I thought we started the game really well for 20 minutes,” Rooney said.

“But we got sloppy, we got slow, and we created a lot of our own problems.

“We were probably fortunate in the end to come away with a point.

“A lot of things we need to address, basics of the game like heading the ball, it was not there today.”

On whether the current crop of players are good enough, he added: “Today was a really frustrating day.

“My job is to improve them as players so in the next six months we hope there will be changes because you want to bring players in and players will leave.

“It’s important we don’t get carried away we do have a lot of good players but today we should win that game.

“That’s an accountability the players need to understand.”

Rooney believed his team did not win the game because of complacency after a positive start.

“We haven’t won the game because we got complacent,” he said.

“I felt in the first 20 minutes we (found) it easy to get into their final third so the players then felt the game was a bit too easy for them.

“They get sloppy and forget to do the right things.”

Rooney also spoke of the presence of Brady at the game and at the training ground during the week, adding: “Tom was around all the players, and it was great to have him over.

“He was speaking to players individually, so the more he is here the better it is for us.”

Rotherham caretaker boss Wayne Carlisle felt the Millers deserved more than a point.

“I’m pleased with the performance but I’m slightly disappointed that we didn’t come out with the three points,” Carlisle said.

“We wanted a reaction after the Hull game (4-1 loss) and the boys rolled their sleeves up and gave a real Rotherham United performance.

“I’m delighted we were creating changes away from home and putting ourselves in these positions but disappointed we were not taking them.”

Carlisle said this result and the draw with Leeds last weekend can be a building block for his side and that he has a job to do until a new manager is appointed.

“I’ve got a job to do, my most important job is keeping the guys together and now it’s to try and win games of football until someone tells me I’m not doing it”, he added.

Jon Dahl Tomasson praised the impact of Sammie Szmodics after his brace helped Blackburn to a pulsating 4-2 win over Birmingham.

Szmodics set Rovers on their way in the 47th minute, lobbing John Ruddy after beating the Birmingham offside trap, and his delicate finish five minutes later doubled the advantage.

When James Hill made it three, it felt like job done but Siriki Dembele hit a stunning brace of his own, curling into the top corner and firing into the roof of the net before Harry Leonard secured the points in injury time.

Szmodics has netted six in his last four and 13 for the season and after the game Tomasson praised his overall impact.

He said: “He’s flying. Not only this week, and this month, I think actually Sammie has been playing extremely well in the last year and now he’s adding a lot of goals, which we need.

“We’re extremely pleased for Sammie.

“We want to play a game, a modern way, a fluent game where you play quick, one or two touches, within one or two seconds – it’s a way of talking without using words and Sammie is one of those players that can do that.

“He can play and go, play the ball and move immediately, he has a great feeling regarding space as well and he always creates chances or when the ball finds him, he’s in a good position.

“And of course he works really hard against the ball which every team needs.

“I’m pleased he’s getting chances and scoring and even when he misses a chance, he keeps his head up.”

The result means it is one win in seven for Wayne Rooney, who felt there were positives in the Blues performance but described the goals conceded as “schoolboy”.

He said: “The goals were very poor from our point of view. I thought for large portions of the game, we were very good and caused Blackburn a lot of problems.

“The goals are schoolboy. I take responsibility for that but I think we as defenders, goalkeeper and midfielders, we need to be better because we can’t keep allowing teams to score goals like that against us.

“First five minutes of the second half, I said to the players at half-time, are so important.

“I felt first half we really quietened their crowd, and not to give them momentum and encouragement to get up and we do the opposite.

“It’s cost us the game but it’s hard to sit here and take the defeat after such a positive performance.

“We created some really good chances. We have to be more clinical because I think we’ve had 20-odd attempts at goal today and scored two. Really frustrated with the defeat.”

Sammie Szmodics celebrated his new contract by firing a second-half brace to help Blackburn to an enthralling 4-2 victory over Birmingham.

Wayne Rooney’s men had the better of the first half and Siriki Dembele clattered the woodwork but the visitors were made to pay for that profligacy.

Szmodics, who extended his Blackburn deal to 2026 on Tuesday, showed his clinical edge by lobbing John Ruddy in the 47th minute before another lofted finish five minutes later gave him his 13th of the campaign.

The game looked over when James Hill profited from a goalkeeping error to net his first Blackburn goal but Birmingham turned the game on its head.

Szmodics’ former Peterborough teammate Dembele netted a brace of his own with a classy 63rd-minute strike before a spectacular 20-yard effort gave the visitors real hope of an improbable point.

Harry Leonard’s injury-time strike made the points safe for Blackburn, who go seventh after a third win in four. Birmingham have now lost seven consecutive away games.

Birmingham weathered a fast Blackburn start and should have gone ahead in the 23rd minute when Lee Buchanan lashed over from close range.

They went closer three minutes later when Dembele tricked his way into the area on the left before unleashing an effort that rattled the crossbar.

Juninho Bacuna missed a glorious chance just before the break when he received the ball on the right but flashed a low shot beyond the far post, and Ruddy kept the scores level just before the break when he parried Callum Brittain’s curling shot behind.

Blackburn were ruthless after the break and Szmodics put them ahead in the 47th minute when he latched on to Adam Wharton’s defence-splitting pass before lobbing the stranded Ruddy.

He repeated the trick five minutes later, meeting Leonard’s clever pass before calmly lifting the ball over the goalkeeper from inside the area and it felt like game over in the 59th minute when Hill let fly with a speculative effort that Ruddy allowed to squirm beyond him and into the corner.

Birmingham came roaring back and superb skill from Dembele four minutes later saw him go past Brittain and fire clinically into the top corner.

It changed the complexion of the game and Leopold Wahlstedt made a smart near-post save from Bacuna before his brilliant reaction stop repelled Lukas Jutkiewicz’s point-blank header.

Dembele’s fifth of the season in the 78th minute, a stunning curling strike from the edge of the area that flew into the roof of the net, set up a grandstand finish.

But Leonard fired into the bottom-left corner in the second minute of injury time to secure the points as Ewood breathed a collective sigh of relief.

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