Wayne Rooney confirms return to England, will join Derby County as player-coach from January 2020
Former England captain Wayne Rooney is to leave Washington-based DC United after agreeing a deal to become player-coach of English Championship side Derby County, the clubs announced on Tuesday.
“Following the conclusion of the 2019 MLS season, star forward Wayne Rooney will be departing the club to continue his career in England in order to be closer to family,” DC United said in a statement.
“It was announced today that, with the consent of D.C. United, Rooney completed negotiations to become a player-coach for Derby County in the English Championship in 2020.”
Derby said in a statement the club were “delighted to announce that England’s record goal-scorer Wayne Rooney will join the club from January 2020”.
Reports of Derby’s interest in the former Manchester United star emerged shortly before the side, under new boss Phillip Cocu, opened their Championship campaign with a 2-1 victory at Huddersfield on Monday.
He is under contract at MLS side DC United until the end of the 2021 season but reports suggest his wife Coleen is homesick and has returned to Britain with their children.
Premier League side Burnley and second-tier West Brom also reportedly declared an interest in Rooney, who is the record goalscorer for England and United.
Rooney has engineered an upturn in DC United’s fortunes since he arrived from Everton and teammate Steve Birnbaum said he had had a major impact.
“He’s changed everything, he’s changed the culture of the club,” Birnbaum told the Daily Telegraph.
“The work ethic he puts in during practice and you guys see it in the games. We have this sort of confidence or swag going into games because of him.”
Rooney gave short shrift to questions about his future last week.
“Is that what was in the media? That my wife has got her own way?” he told AFP.
“Those reports are a bit far-fetched. I’m concentrating on playing for DC United and trying to get them into the playoffs. I haven’t thought about anything beyond that.”
Rooney has made no secret of his desire to move into coaching following contemporaries including Ryan Giggs, John Terry, Steven Gerrard and Phil Neville.
“Coaching is something which I have thought about for a long time,” Rooney said.
“I’m in the process now of going through my badges. It would be a shame for me to finish playing and just walk away from the game.
“I have a desire to go into management and hopefully the right opportunity will come up.”