WASHINGTON (AP) – Wayne Rooney hopes taking over as DC United coach helps turn the struggling MLS team around and advances his managerial career.
Rooney was introduced on Tuesday as coach four years after he joined DC United as a player, saying he’s in a completely different place now as a human being. That place is still in the early stages of coaching, an area he’d like to stay in after leaving English club Derby last month following 18 months in charge.
“To really come here, back to the MLS, back to DC United was an exciting challenge for me and something which I feel can develop me as a coach,” Rooney said at a news conference at Audi Field. “I’m at the point of my managerial career where I have to put the work in, I have to put the hours in. Of course I’m an ambitious person. One day I went to manage at the top level, and this is part of that process in terms of committing time to develop this club, time to get success here but also develop myself as a manager.”
The 36-year-old former England star said he was approached by teams in his native country and elsewhere in Europe after leaving Derby but was planning to take a break. DC United was the only MLS club he would join, and Rooney jumped on that offer after speaking with his wife, who he said will remain in England with their children for the time being.
“That’s not an issue whatsoever from a family point of view,” said Rooney, whose stint as a player with United ended in part because of his family’s wishes.
DC United could certainly use a boost from Rooney’s return to the team he played for in 2018 and 2019. It’s tied with Chicago for the fewest points in the 28-team league with a record of 5-10-2 and lost 7-0 last Friday night at Philadelphia, matching the MLS record for largest margin of defeat.