Derby County legend Paulo Wanchope reflects on time at Pride Park

Paulo Wanchope celebrates scoring for Derby against Arsenal.
Paulo Wanchope celebrates scoring for Derby against Arsenal.

Paulo Wanchope says he has many happy memories from his time at Derby County, after he returned to the club as part of a two-week stay in England.

Wanchope, 43, was present at the Rams' game with Luton Town and was hailed by fans following his two seasons at Derby after arriving at the club in 1997.

The Costa Rican announced his arrival with a stunning debut goal in a 3-2 win at Manchester United and went on to score 28 goals for the Rams before moving on to West Ham and then Manchester City.

"I have great memories of my time at Pride Park,” Wanchope told RamsTV.

“I remember a great atmosphere here when we played at home and it is nice to be back. It was over 20 years ago but it feels like only five years have passed.

“It is nice to see old friends and nice to see the club going forward in the right way. I have been to the training ground and the facilities are great.

"The goal at Manchester United was the right start, it was great for me and the club for us to go over there and win that game.

“For me to score and assist a goal is something that will always be in my heart and the fans always remember that goal. The goal here against them was even better, but I do understand the meaning of the goal at Old Trafford.

“We had great players – Igor Stimac, Stefano Eranio, Francesco Baiano – just very good players around. It is nice to remember them and see some of those coaching now, like Lee Carsley, I remember him very well. He was a good player, very energetic.

“I did enjoy my time and I improved my game over here and it was great to enjoy the English football.”

Wanchope went on to play in Spain, Japan, Qatar, Argentina and the USA before finally retiring in 2007, since going on to be assistant head coach and then head coach of Costa Rica, winning the Copa Centroamericana in 2014.

He has been back in England to hone his coaching skills in the hope of returning to the game full-time.

He said: “It is part of my coaching education. I have been doing all my badges over here. I am still yet to do my Pro License.

“It is good to be back here and see some training sessions, see some of the experienced coaches work which will help me develop. I will go up to Manchester as well and it is a learning experience. I am very into coaching, so I just want to prepare well.

“My home is still Costa Rica, but to be honest I would like to come back to England. My daughter was born in Manchester and I do have dual nationality, so we are looking forward coming back. We will see what happens.”