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Loyal Rooney to snub Europe move to focus on DC United

DC United

For DC United fans the news came as another welcome plus point since the arrival of a certain Wayne Rooney in the MLS. As well as turning the fortunes of the Washington outfit around with his goals, Rooney has given the club a huge boost in terms of exposure.

So, it was a massive boon for the club and league in general when he recently announced that he was prepared to stay in America for the MLS off-season, and if you had taken a punt on on his intentions you would have been quids in, as opposed to heading back on loan to a club in Europe.

It means his commitment to the cause is such that he will forgo the chance of perhaps resurrecting his career in the Premier League or La Liga all to focus on the job in hand with DC. And thus far it has been some job the former Everton and Manchester United star has done.

Let’s not forget that when ex-England goal-getter Rooney arrived in the American capital, DC United were no more than also-rans when it came to success on the pitch. Indeed, they were bottom of the Eastern Conference area on his recruitment back in the summer! But the club’s faith in Rooney has paid off handsomely and now they are gearing up for the last game of the regular season against Chicago Fire on Sunday having grabbed a play-off spot.

Of course, football is very much a team game but the mere fact that Rooney has hit 12 goals for the cause tells you all you need to know about the big influence on the team he has had. Explaining the reasoning behind his decision to turn his back on a brief sortie back in European football, he said:

“I think I committed myself to DC and that’s why I’m going to give everything to DC. In the off-season I’ll stay here for a lot of that time with my children in school. I’ll go back during Christmas to see some family and friends. I’m committed to DC and I don’t think it’d be right for me to fly back and forth to play on loan with another team.”

And Rooney, who is aged 33, says he is happy to let his football do the talking for him, in what is unquestionably a response to those critics who suggested he was heading to the MLS for an easy ride. He said:

“I didn’t think too much about what people say. People see what you put in on the football pitch, there’s no hiding place. If you come with the right attitude then people will see that, and if you don’t then they’ll see that.

“It’s down to the player, either myself or others to have the right attitude and show which I’ve done my whole career. There are games when you might not be at your best, but you keep working hard for the team — it’s what I’ve always done and will continue to do.”

Meanwhile, Rooney has lifted the lid on the fact that despite his sizzling MLS form for DC, he won’t be coming out of retirement should England boss Gareth Southgate come calling. He added:

“I think England are doing fantastic. It was the right time for me to retire with the group of young players. It was the right time to let them come in and flourish in the team. I have no regrets over it. I think the players have stood up and done really well. Hopefully they can go one step further in the next international tournament and get to a final.”