Wayne Rooney dismisses suggestions that role as DC United head coach is a ‘step backwards’


Wayne Rooney has dismissed suggestions that taking over as head coach at DC United from Major League Soccer was a “step backwards” in his managerial career.

The 36-year-old quickly returned to management at his former club after leaving Derby last month following a turbulent period which saw his own stocks improve despite the chaos off the pitch at the Rams.

The former England, Manchester United and Everton striker has wasted no time in getting back into the game, although he will have to wait to fill out a visa application to officially take up his new role in Washington, where he spent two years playing Bane.

“I’ve seen some articles, certainly in England, about this being a possible step backwards in my managerial career. I really felt that was a bit disrespectful of this league,” Rooney said at a press conference, which was broadcast on the club’s YouTube channel.

Rooney revealed that following his departure from Derby there had been “a couple of other clubs both in England and Europe that had gotten in touch” but that he had planned to “take a little break” before the opportunity presented itself DC United bid high.

“I think as a player who’s played at the top level for most of my career, you really get to choose which club you want to go to,” he said.

“As a manager, I am at the beginning of this journey. I’m at a point in my managerial career where I have to put in the work, I have to put in the hours.

“Obviously I’m an ambitious person, I want to work at the highest level and that’s part of this process of coming here, trying to develop this club, being successful here, but also developing myself as a manager.”

I’m an ambitious person, I want to lead at the top level and that’s part of it

Wayne Rooney

Rooney also highlighted his “connection” to the club, adding: “There’s no other MLS team that I would have gone to.”

Rooney joined DC United as a designated player in June 2018 and has made 48 appearances, scoring 23 goals and providing 15 assists.

He revealed his family supported the move but would remain in England for the time being and come to visit.

“It’s not a problem at all from a family perspective,” he said.

Rooney described the move as “an exciting challenge” and “something I believe can develop as a coach”.

He takes over from a side that lost 7-0 to Philadelphia on Friday, putting him second to bottom in the Eastern Conference standings.

“The team needs to improve and I really believe that with my skills in developing players and young players we can get this club back on the road to success,” Rooney said.

DC United Co-Chairs Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan called Rooney “one of the most exciting and dynamic emerging managers in our sport”.

They added in a statement: “Even in his young coaching career he has proven that he knows how to lead a group through adversity.

“Having been with us for two years as a player has given him an understanding of our league and what it takes to be successful in Major League Soccer.

“The passion he showed while wearing black and red has electrified our city and club and we are delighted to welcome him back as our head coach.”

DC United confirmed Rooney will join the club and take on the role of head coach until he receives his P-1 visa. The rest of the coaching staff will be announced at a later date. Wayne Rooney dismisses suggestions that role as DC United head coach is a ‘step backwards’

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