Wayne Rooney will leave DC United to join Derby County as a player-coach in January 2020.
The 33-year-old has been plying his trade in MLS since 2018 since leaving Everton to join DC United and has scored 25 goals in 46 games for the club so far.
Rooney to start coaching career: Five key things to know…
- Rooney has scored 359 goals for club and country, winning 11 major honours.
- He left Everton to join MLS side DC United in 2018.
- It is now confirmed he will join Derby County as a player-coach in January 2020.
- The 2019 MLS season ends in November with DC competing for a play-off spot.
- Rooney will join Derby an initial 18-month contract with the option for another year.
The MLS regular season ends in October but DC United are almost certain to make the play-offs. Should they go all the way to MLS Cup, Rooney’s season will end on November 10, with Derby happy to let the forward remain stateside until his commitments there are concluded.
His initial arrival at Pride Park with be on an 18-month contract with the option for an extra year after that.
DC United co-chairmen Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien confirmed Rooney’s decision was largely motivated by a desire to move back closer to his family.
“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,” they said. “Our main focus now is the 2019 MLS Season and ensuring we make a push towards the playoffs with the ultimate goal of bringing an MLS Cup back to the District. Wayne is an exceptional leader and one of the most iconic players to play the game so we look forward to his continued contributions to the team this season.”
Rooney himself insisted he remains focused on delivering silverware at Audi Field, telling DC United’s 0fficial website: “I remain fully focused on giving my all for the team for the rest of this season and repaying the support shown by the Black-and-Red faithful by hopefully delivering an MLS Cup to Audi Field”
The Man Utd legend also expressed his excitement at working with Derby manager Phillip Cocu, as he takes his first steps into coaching.
“I am very excited about the opportunity that Derby County have provided me with,” he told the Rams’ official website.
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“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.”
“Leadership, skill, experience, character and work ethic”
Derby boss Cocu is equally as excited to see Rooney join the club, believing he has the perfect skill set to help his team progress both on and off the pitch.
“Wayne Rooney is an extremely talented and top-class footballer”, the Dutchman said.
Wayne Rooney on joining Derby: "I'm looking forward to joining Phillip Cocu, his coaching staff and the first-team squad in January. I'm sure I can make a big contribution.
"I am equally excited to begin my coaching career at Derby working with both the first team and Academy." pic.twitter.com/YSH2uRFvCh
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) August 6, 2019
“It is an exciting prospect for him to be joining Derby County and he can bring so much to this squad, both on and off the pitch. He has enjoyed a wonderful career, both in club football and for England, and he still has so much to give as well.
“His credentials speak for themselves. But to have a player with his leadership, skill, experience, character and work ethic will be huge for us. He knows what it takes to succeed as a player and I have no doubt he will have a positive impact right across the club.”