Wayne Rooney

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‘But hey this is MLS’: Wayne Rooney slams MLS’ travel arrangements

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Wayne Rooney is not a fan of MLS’ travel arrangements.

D.C. United lost 1-0 to the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday in Canada, and had to fly back to the nation’s capital before prepping for a midweek showdown with visiting New York Red Bulls.

To the 33-year-old Englishmen the trip should’ve taken six hours, not half a day.

MLS is notoriously known for the lack of charter flights it offers its teams, a mere four per season is the reported amount each team is allocated. Traveling on commercial flights has caused routine delays for a slew of team’s this season, with certain teams arriving only hours before the first whistle in some cases.

Players, however, will reportedly push for better travel in the upcoming CBA negotiations. Not only for Rooney, but for the majority of professional athletes around the world, flying charter is customary.

Upon his arrival to D.C. in 2018, Rooney turned down first-class flights offered by the Black-and-Red, among other fine accommodations. “If you are going to be part of the team, you have to be part of the team,” Rooney said on his decision to reject first-class flights and private hotel rooms. “All in and do the same things. I don’t want special treatment — I wanted to be treated the same as the players. I’m part of this team.”

Rooney, despite being on his way out of D.C. to join Derby County in January, is certainly a part of the team.

He is also now a part of the complex fight for better travel in MLS.

Wayne Rooney signs for Derby County

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Wayne Rooney has signed with Derby County. Yes. You read that correctly.

Rooney, 33, has signed an initial 18-month contract with the English second-tier team in a player-coach role, as he will play out the rest of the Major League Soccer season and arrive at Derby on January 1. There is an option to extend the contract by a further year.

England’s all-time leading goalscorer flew to the UK overnight and was spotted at London’s Heathrow airport before heading to Derby. Rooney was then seen at Derby’s training ground in the UK ahead of finalizing his shock move from D.C. United.

Speaking about his return to England, Rooney thanked D.C. United’s owners for allowing the move to happen.

“I am very excited about the opportunity that Derby County have provided me with,” Rooney said. “I am looking forward to joining Phillip Cocu, his coaching staff and the first-team squad from the start of January. I am sure I can make a big contribution and can’t wait to meet everyone, especially the supporters. I am equally excited to begin my coaching career at Derby County working with both the first team and Academy. I must also take this opportunity to thank DC United, their owners, executives and supporters who have been superb to work with. I want them to know that I will give my all in support of our push for the play-offs.”

D.C. United’s chairmen revealed that Rooney requested the move back to England duo to his family not settling in the USA following his move last summer.

“After speaking to Wayne and understanding his difficult situation of being so far away from his family, we have accepted that this is the best decision for all parties,” Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien, D.C. United Co-Chairmen said.

Ola Kamara is set to replace Rooney, with the Norwegian international and former LA Galaxy star to head back to MLS from China for a transfer fee in the region of $2.5 million.

Derby owner Mel Morris spoke about another huge coup for the Rams, which follows the hiring of Frank Lampard last season before he moved on to coach Chelsea, then getting in Dutch legend Phillip Cocu to replace him.

“This is clearly an exciting signing for us, and Wayne’s presence will further enhance the club’s standing and its ability to perform both on and off the pitch. To have Wayne Rooney as a player, and equally as an aspiring coach, is incredible and I can only imagine the buzz this will generate amongst our supporters at home and internationally. First and foremost, Wayne is joining us as a player but he will also have coaching responsibilities too, particularly around the development of our younger players progressing towards the first-team from our Academy, as he looks to gain his relevant qualifications for a future coaching and management career. I would like to express a sincere thanks to DC United for their professionalism throughout this process. We wish them every success for the remainder of their season.”

This is  a huge blow for DCU’s hopes of winning the Eastern Conference this season and making a splash in the playoffs.

Rooney’s move to MLS was scrutinized by many after his minutes dwindled at both Man United and Everton over the past few seasons, but he’s been a star.

From goals inside his own half to stunning individual displays, Rooney has scored 25 goals in 45 appearances for D.C. United and dragged them from last in the East last season to the playoffs.

But the lure of returning to England to start his coaching career was too strong, as he’s spoken about a desire to coach on many occasions and he’ll be following in the footsteps of Lampard, John Terry, Steven Gerrard and others from England’s so-called ‘Golden Generation’ of players.

Report: Wayne Rooney holding talks to join Derby County as player-coach

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According to a report by James Ducker of The Telegraph, D.C. United striker Wayne Rooney is in talks with Derby County about a return to English football as a player-coach for the Championship club.

Derby County signed former Barcelona player Phillip Cocu as manager on a four-year contract in the wake of Frank Lampard‘s departure, and the club may look to capitalize on Rooney’s solid Major League Soccer form by bringing him on as a player while also getting his feet wet in the coaching ranks.

According to the report, Rooney’s agent Paul Stretford has already met with the club and plans to continue talks in the coming days. Yesterday the Sun had reported that Rooney was thinking about a possible return to Manchester United in a coaching role alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but this would see him able to continue his playing while also learning the coaching ropes. He has two years remaining on his D.C. United contract that runs through December of 2021.

Rooney looked behind the pace during his final Premier League season with Everton in 2017/18, but he joined D.C. United that summer and has seen somewhat of a revival. During his time in MLS, Rooney has scored 23 goals in 44 matches while dotting the highlight reel with spectacular strikes including one from the midway line.

It’s possible that Derby believes Rooney has something to offer on the pitch while also beginning his coaching career, serving as an asset on the field while also potentially learning to follow-up Cocu should he not impress or be lured away after a period of success. For time on the field, Rooney would compete with 29-year-old opening day starter Martyn Waghorn, 30-year-old Championship veteran Chris Martin, and 24-year-old Jack Marriott for time at the striker position.

Derby signed Lampard to his first managerial job back in May of last year, and it was a smashing success, with Derby reaching the Championship playoff final before losing to Aston Villa to agonizingly miss out on Premier League promotion. Lampard left after just the one year to serve as manager of Chelsea, and now Derby owner Mel Morris could be looking to add yet another high profile former England star.

FOLLOW LIVE: Ten games to catch on busy MLS Saturday

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With MLS All-Star Week coming up, the remaining MLS weekend schedule is squeezed into Saturday, with no less than ten games on tap.

[ FOLLOW: MLS Scoreboard]

The Washington Post reported on Friday that Wayne Rooney is back with D.C. United after taking a few days to return to England with coach Ben Olsen’s blessing. That meant Rooney missed D.C. United’s 2-0 defeat to Atlanta United last weekend as well as their 8-1 thrashing (with mostly fringe players, to be fair) against Marseille in midweek.

Now, Rooney could be set to go up against former Manchester United Bastian Schweinsteiger and the Chicago Fire, which is looking to move up in the table and snatch a playoff place.

Meanwhile, coming off a dramatic 3-2 derby win over Los Angeles FC, the LA Galaxy now travel north to face the Portland Timbers. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is in stellar form, as seen with his three-goal display last week, but it will be interesting to see how he plays on the turf at the renovated Providence Park. The Timbers meanwhile have predictably seen their form turn positive since returning home, losing just once in their last seven games.

Follow along with us at the link above and stay tuned for more reaction and analysis post game here on PST!

Saturday’s MLS schedule

New England Revolution v. Orlando City — 7 p.m. ET
New York Red Bulls v. Columbus Crew — 7:30 p.m. ET
Chicago Fire v. D.C. United — 8 p.m. ET
FC Dallas v. Real Salt Lake — 8 p.m. ET
Houston Dynamo v. Seattle Sounders — 8 p.m. ET
Minnesota United v. Vancouver Whitecaps — 8 p.m. ET
Montreal Union v. Philadelphia Union — 8 p.m. ET
Toronto FC v. FC Cincinnati — 8 p.m. ET
San Jose Earthquakes v. Colorado Rapids — 10 p.m. ET
Portland Timbers v. LA Galaxy — 10:30 p.m. ET

DC United back to winning ways with 4-1 rout of FC Cincinnati

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D.C. United hasn’t added too many tick marks to the win column of late, but they got back to victory lane with a 4-1 victory over FC Cincinnati that featured a fantastic second half.

The win is just the club’s second since May 13, and that should give Ben Olsen and company a huge boost as they jump into second place in the East past Atlanta United and move four clear of the fourth-placed New York Red Bulls. With Philadelphia just a single point on top, it’s all to play for despite the nine-match run that saw just one win, now ended by the victory at Cincinnati.

Luis Rodriguez bagged a brace while Wayne Rooney and Paul Arriola added one each to complete the scoreline. The visitors to Nippert Stadium went ahead on the first of Rodriguez’s pair, a curling effort with his right foot that put D.C. United up before halftime.

The home side struck back with a penalty by Emmanuel Ledesma nine minutes after the break, but it took D.C. just two minutes to restore the lead as Rodriguez again came through, this time via a deflection that took the ball into the top-left corner.

Rooney and Arriola were then on hand to put the game away, with the former England international latching onto an exquisite long ball from Leonardo Jara that was presented on a platter for Rooney to split the center-backs and finish cooly for a 3-1 lead. Arriola finished it off with 17 minutes to go, again on the breakaway as the American international burst down the left and finished it himself from a tight angle.

Playing with the lead for most of the second half, D.C. United was happy to let FC Cincinnati hold much of the possession, 57% to be exact. They were deadly on the counter, leading the shot count 17-11 despite the possessional deficit, including 8-3 on target. Up next for D.C. United is a critical date with Atlanta United on Sunday as the two duke it out near the top of the Eastern Conference.