Former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov feels Wayne Rooney is proving himself as a manager at Derby County and could be the next Everton boss.

The Toffees may soon be seeking a new manager with pressure mounting on Rafael Benitez. The Merseysiders have endured a dreadful sequence of results and have slipped to 14th in the top-flight standings. It is all a far cry from the beginning of the season when Benitez’s controversial appointment was papered over by decent results.

That has now all ended amid reports that fans will stage a five-minute walk-out during Monday’s home clash with Arsenal. There have been mixed messages over Benitez’s future.

Owner Farhad Moshiri backed the Spaniard on Thursday and suggested he will not be sacked. But a report on Friday claimed chairman Bill Kenwright called an emergency board meeting for Friday night.

Whatever happens, the former Liverpool chief knows he must start winning matches or he will be out. Rooney began his career at Goodison Park before moving to Manchester United.

Rafa Benitez Everton

He returned to Everton for one season before a switch to the USA with DC United. The former England ace joined Derby as a player-coach in the summer of 2019, working alongside Phillip Cocu.

The Dutchman’s dismissal saw Rooney eventually take the reins himself but he has had to battle off-field issues at Pride Park.

Nightmare gets worse for Rooney

The Rams were handed a 12-point deduction on September 22 this year after entering administration. And in November they were hit with another nine-point deduction after admitting to breaching EFL accounting rules.

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They are bottom of the Championship and 19 points from safety. Relegation seems inevitable but Rooney has been praised for sticking with the club.

Berbatov is a fan and sees no reason why his former team-mate should not manage Everton.

“Rooney is doing very well at Derby despite all the issues off the field,” he wrote on Betfair, per FLW. “He’s had the taste of management, he knows what it involves and I’m sure he will be thinking about a future in the Premier League.

Dimitar Berbatov sitting on the bench for Manchester United, January 2012

“He’s building his way up and I’m certain he will be a Premier League manager soon and Everton could be the next step for him.”

Rooney made it clear he would be an Everton fan for life when he first signed for the club. And, despite jumping ship for Old Trafford after two years, the ex-striker could still have a major influence on the club.

READ MORE: Damning verdict on Benitez and ‘it will only get worse,’ says former Everton man

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