However, on Friday, Rooney made the call to officially walk away from his playing career as he penned a deal to become Derby's permanent manager.
A cautious endorsement, it should be said, for the fledgling managerial career of Wayne Rooney, from his own former boss Sir Alex Ferguson with whom the man now in charge of Derby County once enjoyed what might tactfully be described as a complicated relationship.
"When I first arrived back in the United Kingdom, I was completely blown away by the potential of Derby", Rooney said. "To be given the opportunity to follow the likes of Brian Clough, Jim Smith, Frank Lampard and Phillip Cocu is such an honour and I can promise everyone involved in the club and all our fans, my staff and I will leave no stone unturned in achieving the potential I have witnessed over the last 12 months of this historic football club".
"Our recent upturn in results under Wayne was married together with some positive performances, notably the 2-0 home win over Swansea City and the 4-0 victory at Birmingham City", Derby CEO Stephen Pearce said.
He retires as United and England's all-time leading goalscorer and while Ferguson believes that will be an advantage for Rooney, he warned the former forward results were all that mattered as a coach. "Wishing you all the best in management".
It also went unsaid when Ferguson appeared on the Lockdown Theatre on Friday night for a dementia in sport fundraiser, and conversation turned to Rooney's new appointment, although one could sense it around the edges.
"He has had a good start... and he has knowledge of the game, a presence about him and I hope he does well".
"It's a results industry and you need to get results".
"It's a big step for him. Hopefully he does well".
Rooney burst onto the scene as a teenager at Everton before United signed him for £25 million.
A potent combination of poise and power made Rooney a lethal goal threat before he finished his career showcasing his more cerebral side in a deeper role.
The 35-year-old enjoyed an incredible playing career that spanned almost two decades, during which time he won 16 trophies at Manchester United, the majority of those under Ferguson.
Rooney moved to Derby in January 2020 as a player-coach and took caretaker charge when Cocu was sacked.
The striker not only overtook Bobby Charlton as United's record goal-scorer but he also eclipsed the World Cup victor with England, scoring 53 goals in 120 appearances.
He left United in 2017 to re-sign with Everton after winning the Europa League.
Derby are now in the Championship relegation zone but are level on 19 points with Sheffield Wednesday, in 21st place.