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Featured Image Credit: PA/Sky Sports
Wayne Rooney has revealed he tried to bring in an Arsenal star into his Derby County team, but didn't get 'anywhere' near signing the youngster before he became integral to Mikel Arteta's side.
Rooney opened up about a lot of topics on Monday night, as he joined Jamie Carragher in the Sky Sports studio for Monday Night Football.
The pair were covering Arsenal's trip to Crystal Palace, with the Gunners' handed a big blow to their top four credentials in a 3-0 loss at Selhurst Park.
It was a shock considering how well Arteta's young team have played of late but the likes of Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe couldn't have their usual influence.
The latter would have particularly surprised Rooney, who revealed that he'd tried to get Smith Rowe on loan before the 21-year-old soon became an integral part of the team.
"I think he is a fantastic young player," the Manchester United legend said of Smith Rowe on Sky Sports.
"He is actually a player that I enquired about when I first went in as manager at Derby County, I tried to bring him in on loan.
"It didn't get close after I enquired, and then a week later he was in Arsenal's first team."
Smith Rowe went on loan to fellow Championship side Huddersfield Town in January 2020, until the end of that season, where he impressed.
The number 10 played 19 games for the Terriers for the second half of the season, scoring twice, before returning to the Emirates at the end of the season.
Rooney became one of the leaders of Derby in November of 2020 and then took over as permanent manager at the beginning of 2021, and wanted to bring Smith Rowe in.
The young forward didn't start any league games throughout October and November 2020 and the new Derby boss might have thought at that time he had a chance to make the loan move.
That is likely to have been when he contacted Arsenal, as Smith Rowe inspired a win over Chelsea on Boxing Day and has been an important member of the first XI since then.
Rooney also talked up an Arsenal legend, who Smith Rowe will do well to come close to emulating, as he revealed Ian Wright would be in his picks for the Premier League Hall of Fame.
Talking about the former striker, Rooney said, I went for Ian Wright. Growing up, I used to hate watching him play against Everton because he’d always score. He was a character, he had a cheekiness about him."