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Rooney Calls Time on MLS Career

Off to Derby County as player-coach in January ...

This evening, twelve months ago. Rooney at Stade Saputo. A year on he’s announced an end to his DC United career, citing family reasons. The five-times Premier League winner will join Derby County in the English Championship.
Paul Vance

Exactly a year to the day Wayne Rooney made his first-ever appearance in Montreal, England’s and Manchester United’s record goal-scorer has called time on his MLS career.

He’s back here on 31 August and that’s likely to be the last time Montreal fans will see him in the flesh, unless, finger’s crossed, there’s the not so small matter of a post-season meeting, of course.

“I’m sure I can make a big contribution,” Rooney said of his pending move back to England.
Despite having two more seasons left on his deal with DC United, Rooney has cited family reasons as the factor behind the development. “Family is everything to us and we make this change to be closer to the ones we love back in England.”

Derby chairman Mel Morris has declared that Rooney joins the Rams first and foremost as a player, who will also, “continue to develop his coaching credentials in preparation for a potential managerial career”.

The Derby chairman also said, ”This is clearly an exciting signing for us. On the back of Wayne joining, we have just been offered a record-breaking sponsorship deal with our principal shirt sponsor.”

One wonders where this leaves DC United. Clearly they will have known of this in advance, so planning for a replacement for next season is surely already underway.

Whether that replacement can produce as Rooney did, 23 goals in 41 MLS games, clearly remains to be seen. Players like the Englishman, who brought professionalism and potency and lifted the whole organization are not so easy to find.

MLS: D.C. United at Chicago Fire
Rooney, 33, will be missed by DC United, and by MLS
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Conversely knowing Wayne Rooney, he will not want to go out without a bang. This latest news is more likely to invigorate the player. Such is his appetite for the game and respect for fans, he’s not one for petering out quietly, or letting a contract run down meekly.

It could be good news for DC’s immediate Play-off prospects, but the positives are unlikely to remain beyond 2019.