Wayne Rooney unveiled as new DC United manager


Wayne Rooney is headed back to the Black-and-Red.

The England legend, 36, won’t be playing for DC United this time around, as the manager is taking on his second managerial role following a well-praised run at troubled Derby County.

Rooney won’t begin his run as DC boss until the visa process is confirmed, and Chad Ashton will continue in the interim role for now.

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DC has won just five times in 17 matches this season, conceding the joint-most goals in MLS and boasting the second-worst goal differential despite having played the fewest times.

The Black and Red are nine points off the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot, and have attacking talent in newly-minuted All-Star playmaker Taxi Fountas as well as Ola Kamara

Rooney, the author of so many memorable Premier League moments with Manchester United and Everton, scored 23 times with 13 assists in 48 MLS appearances for DC.

Promotion playoffs bracket set, Rooney’s Derby County avoids the drop


It’ll be Brentford v Bournemouth and Swansea v Barnsley in the first round of the promotion playoffs after three of the four candidates to join Norwich City and Watford in the Premier League dropped points on Saturday.

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The mess at the bottom of the table was also cleaned up, with Wayne Rooney just steering Derby County clear of what would’ve been a shocking drop to League One.

Those dropping to League One are a little less shocking, at least in two of three cases. Wycombe Wanderers go back down with Rotherham United, while Derby’s Saturday opponents carry the most surprise.

Derby County 3-3 Sheffield Wednesday

Wayne Rooney’s wild first season as a manager ended safely Saturday when Martyn Waghorn’s two goals and assist helped the Rams rescue a point from last-place Sheffield Wednesday, who needed a win themselves to have hope of safety.

Rooney’s men saw a brief run of success when he took the reins but it all feel apart starting Feb. 26, as the Rams lost six-straight as part of a 1W-3D-10L run heading into Saturday’s decider.

A Wednesday win would’ve boosted them above County, so the Rams’ point, coupled with Wycombe’s win and Rotherham’s draw, kept the Rams outside the bottom three by one (though goal differential would’ve kept them clear of winning Wycombe).

Sheffield Wednesday’s nine-season Championship run is over, meaning the league return of Steel City derby is at least a season away despite Sheffield United’s relegation.

How will promotion playoffs play out?

Brentford has refound its form heading into the gauntlet, winners of four-straight, while Swansea has slipped lately and Barnsley and Bournemouth finished winners of 2-of-3.

The first legs are Monday, May 17, and the business ends conclude the following Saturday.

First legs

Bournemouth v Brentford — 1pm ET May 17
Barnsley v Swansea City — 3:15pm ET May 17

Second legs

Brentford v Bournemouth — 7:30am ET May 17
Swansea City v Barnsley — 12:30pm ET May 22

Championship playoff final

May 29 — TBD

Wayne Rooney retires to become permanent Derby manager


Wayne Rooney has call full-time on his brilliant playing career, opting to retire in order to become the permanent manager of Derby County, the EFL Championship club announced on Friday.

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The 35-year-old starred at the highest level for club and country for nearly 15 years before entering the twilight of his career with moves to Everton, where he began back in 2002, followed by D.C. United and a player-coach stint with Derby before he was named interim boss in November.

Of course, the bulk of Rooney’s career was spent as the talisman for Manchester United, where he scored 183 Premier League goals for the club (plus another 70 in other competitions) in 559 appearances (393 in the Premier League). Wayne Rooney finishes his career as the all-time leading goalscorer in Premier League history (208) and for Manchester United across all competitions.

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Rooney takes the job as Derby manager on a two-and-a-half-year contract set to run through the summer of 2023

“When I first arrived back in the United Kingdom, I was completely blown away by the potential of Derby County Football Club. The stadium, training ground, the quality of the playing staff and the young players coming through, and of course the fan base that has remained loyal and supportive.

“Despite other offers, I knew instinctively Derby County was the place for me.

“To be given the opportunity to follow the likes of Brian Clough, Jim Smith, Frank Lampard and Phillip Cocu is such an honor and I can promise everyone involved in the club and all our fans, my staff and I will leave no stone unturned in achieving the potential I have witnessed over the last 12 months of this historic football club.”

Derby currently sit 22nd in the Championship, up two spots from dead-last where they resided as recently as Dec. 8, thanks to their hugely improved form (3W-4D-2L) since Wayne Rooney took over.

How did home teams fare Saturday in fans return to Football League?

Fans return
Photo by JULIAN FINNEY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

More than a dozen matches around England saw the return of fans Saturday, and reports of increased intensity were no surprise.

Our Joe Prince-Wright was at one of those matches, Chelsea’s 3-1 defeat of Leeds, and said the overriding emotions were of comfort and normalcy.

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Was it in the players’ heads at all? Whether psychological or not, comments around the Football League system showed that fans’ presence lived inside the players’ and coaches’ heads in a mostly positive way (aside from a very unsavory racist incident at Millwall).

Premier League — Home teams 1W-1L

No surprises here in terms of results, where two of the traditional big boys took care of business with relatively dominant wins (though Man United needed a comeback at West Ham).

Chelsea 3-1 Leeds United — JPW noted the feelings around Stamford Bridge during the contest in his live analysis, as well as comments from Olivier Giroud, Frank Lampard, and Marcelo Bielsa acknowledging the influence of the crowd.

West Ham United 1-3 Manchester United — The Irons gave their fans an early lead but not much else, as Bruno Fernandes gave a master class in super subbery to lead a three-goal second half.

Marcus Rashford was buoyed by the win but also by the fans. From ManUtd.com:

“Brilliant. It is something that everybody knows the game has missed and it is what makes the game so special,” Rashford said.

Championship — Home teams 2W-1D-2L

Both of the winning home teams were top-end sides hosting teams in the lower half, but both winning visitors entered the day at least seven points behind their hosts. Blackburn and Brentford were the two nearest opponents, table wise, and the visitors scored their equalizer despite being down a man.

Watford 0-1 Cardiff City — The visitors surprised the hosts, and the Vicarage Road crowd had the Bluebirds hoping to see fans in their building soon.

“It was a great boost having fans here and I am really pleased for them, it was nice to play in a stadium with some atmosphere. Having seen the noise 2000 fans can make, it would be great to have fans back at the Cardiff City Stadium,” said manager Neil Harris.

Reading 2-0 Nottingham Forest

Brentford 2-2 Blackburn — 10-man visitors come back from 2-1 deficit to draw in 87th minute.

Millwall 0-1 Derby County — Ugly scenes as fans booed the players taking a knee in support of Black Lives Matter, then saw their Lions lose late.

Norwich City 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday — The Canaries came back through two late goals for the 2000 fans at Carrow Road, and Daniel Farke was happy to see them.

“It was great to at least have 2,000 yellow shirts here. I celebrated with our supporters because they also played their part during difficult periods in the game, they were unbelievably noisy,” Farke said.

League One — Home teams 1D-2L

Like the Championship, the winning visitors were both above the hosts on the table and both hosts didn’t aid their cause by seeing men sent off. In the case of Ipswich Town (and Hull City’s draw at Oxford United), there was a significant table advantage for the visitors.

Northampton Town 0-2 Doncaster Rovers — An 18th-minute red card for the hosts helped deny any home field advantage over 90 minutes.

Oxford United 1-1 Hull City — The U’s led 1-0 but gave up a late equalizer to the table-topping visitors.

Plymouth Argyle 1-2 Ipswich Town — The hosts led 1-0 but saw a man sent off in the 70th minute and conceded twice in the next four minutes.

League Two — Home teams 1W-4L

Oldham sprung a bit of a surprise on Cambridge United and Walsall also scored a minor upset at Tranmere Rovers, but the wins for visitors Salford City and Forest Green Rovers were over teams well below them on the table. Hosts Colchester United were expected to beat Grimsby Town, too.

Barrow 0-1 Salford City

Cambridge United 1-2 Oldham Athletic

Harrogate Town 0-1 Forest Green Rovers

Tranmere Rovers 1-3 Walsall

Colchester United 2-1 Grimsby Town

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Rooney becomes ‘senior coaching figure’ after Derby manager fired

Wayne Rooney
Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Wayne Rooney is one step closer to becoming a first-team manager, even before retiring as a player, after Derby County announced that Phillip Cocu had been fired on Saturday after seeing the Rams into 24th place (out of 24 teams) after 11 games in the EFL Championship.

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While he has not been given the title of interim or caretaker manager, Rooney has been installed as the “senior figure” overseeing the interim coaching staff which also includes Shay Given, Liam Rosenior and Justin Walker. The 35-year-old, who has appeared in eight league games for Derby this season, is now expected to take charge of training and picking the lineup.

As such, it was also Wayne Rooney who was tasked with providing the parting comments on behalf of the club in an official statement:

“I am sorry that Philip and his staff have left the club and want to thank him personally for all his help and encouragement as part of his coaching staff.

“The most important thing now is to stabilize the club and start moving up the table.”

A permanent replacement for Cocu is not expected to be named until the takeover by Abu Dhabi royal family member Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan is completed. The deal, which has already been approved for the English Football League, is expected to be completed by the end of November.