Nathan Rooney cannot march into a dressing room and slap a CV of 500 professional appearances down onto the table. Does the first-team coach ever worry that being an unknown in this respect might be held against him by football’s more insular players?

“Not really,” says the latest addition to Steven Pressley’s backroom team. “At the end of the day, there’s probably another 1,000 people lining up behind you for your job anyway. When you get there you can’t dwell on what people are thinking about you.

“Even though [you] might not be a massive name in the game, your reputation and CV stands up for itself.”

In Rooney’s case it is a resumé of diverse details. It includes an assistant manager spell at Crawley, academy and development coaching with other English clubs, a stint helping the Gibraltar national side and a venture in Africa.

He has chalked all this up before turning 30 after dedicating himself coaching from an early age. His playing background led him to Blackburn’s academy but Rooney says: “I knew myself – and you have to be honest with yourself – I was never going to be mobile enough to play at the top level.

“I continued to play in non-league, Saturday and Sunday football, but you might as well put that time and effort into what’s going to get you to the top of the ladder, which for me is coaching and management.

“Even at the age of 17-18 I was coaching the under-13s/under-14s at Blackburn’s academy. I did college courses away from the academy and at Myerscough College I was put through my [Level] One, Two and Three, and at 18 I had my UEFA A Licence – I was the youngest in the country.

“Sometimes you look back and think, ‘Is this too soon?’ I was assistant manager last year at 28. But I don’t think you get in the game for no reason. It’s about being right with people, and relationships, at the end of the day – you get your respect when you’re out there on the grass. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’ve been. You’re there to make a difference.”

Rooney is not the first Carlisle coach of recent times to rise in the game this way. Lee Dykes, Keith Curle’s head of recruitment and then joint assistant, worked his own path in coaching rather than having progressed from a playing career.

“I was reading an article last week that said it doesn’t matter how you get there,” Rooney adds. “I’ve worked with managers who’ve gone straight in at first-team football and said they wished they’d taken [the other] route.

“I’ve been that figure who’s been in the shadows, watching, soaking everything up from all different types of people. In the long run that will pay off massively for me. It’s paying off now – I’m getting the chance to instil the ways a manager wants to work.”

Rooney’s relationship with Steven Pressley began when the pair worked at Fleetwood. They were reunited at Brunton Park last month after Rooney decided to return north after a season by Gabriele Cioffi’s side at Crawley. “It’s was a family [reason] really, getting myself back up north. It’s a big year for me and the missus, marriage at the end of the season!” says the Blackburn native.

“There were potential moves prior to Carlisle but, all in all, when you’ve worked with someone [before], you’d like to go down that route a bit quicker.

“Steven obviously knows my background, from being a development coach at Fleetwood Town, meaning I’m experienced with the younger players but also those young pros who need that boot now and again, should we say.

“I’m hands-on from a coaching point of view. The gaffer will get his research when he requires it. He’ll also get that pro-active attitude out on the grass. You can’t just be stood there – you’re here for a reason. You’ve got to implement those things and work off the manager’s philosophy. I know that inside out.”

Rooney says he stayed in contact with Pressley after Fleetwood and it so happened that both went abroad at the same time: Pressley to Pafos in Cyprus, Rooney to a role in Portugal. This was not his first overseas assignment.

“The Gibraltar thing came through the A Licence,” he explains of one of them. “I was 18-19 and doing the qualifications with the Gibraltar national manager. I ended up going over and [was] asked to assist at some games. We played a couple of decent teams. We played Hibernian in pre-season, the Faroe Islands…

“The Africa route was more from a recruitment point of view. From my previous club at Fleetwood, it was trying to find the next big thing. It was in Guinea-Bissau. We’re talking a couple of months with a couple of visits. It was with their national federation and I was there to teach their coaches, and also got myself on the conference board for the national set-up.

“It was [a case of] ‘if we can recruit your players, I’ll give you something back’. We’re still in contact now. I’m due for another flight over to meet some of the new crop of players.”

What did Rooney encounter, and learn, there? “Different players, language barriers. You find different ways of getting your point across. It was contacts, coaching players who don’t quite understand what they’re actually doing – they’ve never been coached or developed in the past. It doesn’t intimidate me, it’s just another step on the ladder.”

Rooney says broadening one’s horizons as a coach is always worthwhile. “The game is changing and you’re not always going to be coaching an English player, or around the same characters. I’d recommend going on study visits, getting on the phone, on the plane, going to observe.”

Alongside Pressley and No2 Gavin Skelton, Rooney will seek to bring these observations to United’s training ground. He likes the idea of Pressley’s “pro-active”, 4-3-3, high-pressing game and of the Blues generally he says: “It’s a massive club. We all know that. Inside the walls there’s a feel-good factor. There are people who’ve worked here for many years and when you’ve got employees who’ve spent so much time [here], there’s something good about the club.”

He says he was excited by last season’s first opportunity in the first-team front line, with Cioffi at Crawley. “As your career moves on you find yourself sometimes in a comfort zone, just turning up to work and coaching every day. But Crawley was a really good year. What motivates me is working for good people, and when you turn up to work, you know your responsibilities and that connection with the players – and you know you’re being rewarded if things go right on a Saturday.”

Rooney believes helping and promoting United’s young players will be key this season. “People have been commenting a lot in the office, saying there’s a lot of good players in the academy dressing room,” he says. “It’s like any club – you need to strip back the layers and give them the chance to step up and train with the first-team boys, which has been the case this pre-season.

“The lads have to know the opportunity will come, but they also have to be ready for it. Whether it’s a lack of numbers, too many numbers but there on merit, so be it – they’ll get their shot. The boys who’ve been training with us have been great. They’ve shown a fantastic attitude. You have to do that with a manager. It’s relentless work and you’ll get your rewards if you do it.”

It is not surprising to hear positive talk at the start of a long season. “We can’t come into work and hope for anything less than the play-offs,” Rooney says. “I’d like to start hearing people talk about automatic.

“If you stick to your way, you’re gonna win and lose games, but there are always cycles in a season and if you keep yourself in touching distance, and have good people behind you, guiding you constantly, setting those high standards, you’ll go a long way.

“The group has good experience, good leaders, and the youngsters are exciting. The manager gives the players a lot of responsibility. You play on your own instincts. You don’t want to take that away from the boys.”

If these are insights into how Rooney will coach, what about his ambitions from here? He does not pretend they are anything other than high. “I’d love to manage in the League,” he says. “I’m very confident. I think that will happen.

“There’s a lot of good managers who’ve come around this age bracket. You’ve got your Karl Robinsons who was at MK Dons for many years, [for example]…

“I’m excited by this year, waking up every morning, putting the kit on, knowing what your job is. In terms of aspirations, you always want to look back and ask, ‘Have I reached the top?’ And yeah, that’s where I want to be.”