Former Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney has revealed that he turned down an approach to discuss the vacant Everton manager's job, as the club held a final round of talks with Vitor Pereira, Frank Lampard, and current caretaker coach Duncan Ferguson.
The former Everton forward, who has impressed under difficult circumstances at Derby this season, had been reported as a candidate for the Goodison Park job after the dismissal of Rafael Benitez.
Speaking at his press conference on Friday, the Derby County manager said: "Everton approached my agent and asked me to interview for the vacant job, which I turned down.
"I believe that I will be a Premier League manager and I believe I'm ready for that 100 percent, and if that is with Everton one day in the future that'd be absolutely great. But I've got a job here to do at Derby County which is an important job to me," Rooney was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
Asked if it was a hard decision to not speak to Everton, Rooney added, "Yes, of course, I did [think hard about it]. They got in touch with my agent and my agent let the administrators know as well. Of course, it was a very difficult decision for me."
Everton continue their search for a successor to Rafael Benitez since the former Liverpool boss was relieved of his duties after just 200 days in the wake of the recent 2-1 defeat to Norwich. A 2-1 loss to embattled Norwich was the final nail in the coffin of long-disliked manager Benitez and came just days after the club allowed France international Lucas Digne to join Aston Villa.
The club's owner Farhad Moshiri flew to London to hold talks with Pereira, Lampard and Ferguson on Friday morning. Former Porto and Fenerbahce manager Pereira has been in contention for the Everton job twice in the past, losing out to Roberto Martinez in 2013 followed by Marco Silva in 2018.