Wayne Rooney was recently announced as the manager of D.C. United. He returns to the team and the MLS after spending time as a player in the league. Read on to see how Rooney’s return to D.C. United benefits all.
Rooney’s Return to D.C. United is Important for Both Him and the MLS
Wayne Rooney is one of the most famous players in Premier League history. He was one of the best players of the Sir Alex Ferguson era at Manchester United, and helped the team to multiple EPL titles and European and domestic trophies.
After the end of his playing career, Rooney chose to become a manager. He was previously manager of Derby County, and now he has returned to D.C. United, where he played in 2018 and 2019. Rooney’s return to D.C. United represents an important step forward for Rooney and D.C. United, but also the MLS overall.
Rooney’s Time at Derby County
Rooney played at Derby County before transitioning to a managerial role during the 2020-21 season. The club was facing relegation, and financial issues would begin to have an impact on the team during his time in charge.
The start of Rooney’s time as manager was excellent, and the team eventually got out of the relegation zone. By the end of the 2020-21 season, Derby County managed to stay in the EFL Championship and Rooney was set to begin his second season in charge.
Over the summer the team began to face financial struggles in addition to points penalties. The team, which had already almost been relegated the year prior, faced a summer where it would be difficult to sign any players to ensure the club remained in the EFL Championship.
Eventually, the team was handed points penalties, and Rooney was left hoping to recover and help the team avoid relegation. In November, the team had -3 points heading into the second half of the year due to the penalties, and the club was still looking for a new owner.
Derby County couldn’t avoid relegation, finishing seven points away from 21st, the first position in the standings outside of the relegation positions. Without the points deductions, the team would have finished 17th.
With the club in turmoil, Rooney chose to resign. Now, he has taken the job at D.C. United in the MLS, where he hopes to take the next step forward in his career.
What Rooney’s Return Means for Him and the MLS
As with every other manager in soccer, Rooney hopes to reach the highest levels of the sport as a manager. The fact that he views D.C. United and the MLS as a place where he can advance his career is an encouraging development for the league.
Rooney’s return to D.C. United will present a similar challenge to the one he faced at Derby County, without the financial struggles. The MLS doesn’t incorporate promotion and relegation, but D.C. United is last in the Eastern Conference.
The team is eight points out of the playoffs and has just 18 points this season. During this year, the club is 5-3-10 in 18 games. Rooney’s experience in helping teams improve, especially in the middle of the season, will be extremely valuable for D.C. United this year.
D.C. United hasn’t made the playoffs since 2019, when Rooney was still a player for the team. The franchise will hope he can lead them into a new era of success.
The move is also important for the MLS. It shows that players that have had international success respect the progress the league has made, and believe it is a place where they can improve and take the next step in their careers, whether as a player or a manager.
As the MLS moves into the future partnering with players such as Rooney, who has now played and managed in the league, will be vital. In addition, former MLS player David Beckham is one of the main reasons the league has a team in Miami. Overall, the MLS continues to improve both on and off the field.