Wayne Rooney will leave D.C. United after season, return to England

Ben Krimmel
August 05, 2019 - 4:21 pm

UPDATE (Aug. 6, 9 a.m.): Wayne Rooney is officially leaving D.C. United at the end of the 2019 MLS season to return to England. 

United and second-tier English club Derby County announced Tuesday that they had reached an agreement for the 33-year-old forward. Rooney will serve as a player-coach for Derby County beginning this winter. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“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," Wayne Rooney said in a statement released by United. "My time in Major League Soccer is something I will always be proud of." 

"While the decision to move home was a tough one, family is everything to us and we make this change to be closer to the ones we love back in England. The opportunity to go back home and start the next step of my career in coaching was the factor that made my mind up. I would like to thank everyone at D.C. United for the incredible support my family and I have received over my two seasons at the club."

"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," D.C. United Co-Chairmen Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien said in a statement. "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."

---------------------------------------

D.C. United captain and international superstar Wayne Rooney might soon be leaving MLS, according to multiple media reports.

Rooney, the 33-year-old striker who came to America in the middle of United's 2018 campaign, could be headed back to England as soon as the end of the 2019 MLS season, according to Steven Goff of The Washington Post.

Premier League side Burnley could be a potential landing spot for Rooney. Derby County, who play in England's second-tier the Championship, are also reportedly interested in the former England international who has tallied 23 goals in 42 league matches for D.C. United.

Goff reported Derby County's chief executive Stephen Pearce was in Washington in recent days to meet about a possible transfer for Rooney either during the January 2020 transfer period or in the summer of 2020.

Rooney scored some highlight reel goals in Washington during his time in the American top flight and helped make United's inaugural season at Audi Field a success. He led D.C. United to the MLS playoffs last season, but they crashed out on penalties.

However, it wasn't all good times for Rooney in America, he was arrested at Dulles International Airport for "public intoxication and swearing" in January 2019.

Rooney is under contract with United through the 2021 MLS season and United would receive a fee from any club that wishes to purchase his contract. Goff reports he would like to remain in Washington through the 2020 season, but "family concerns might expedite his departure."

Rooney was not with the United squad when they traveled to play Atlanta United in July because he was vacationing with his family in England at the time and was dealing with minor injuries which required a break from game action.

Follow @BenKrimmel and @1067theFan on Twitter and Instagram.

Related: