Who: Wayne Rooney
From Where: DC United
To Where: Derby County
Grade For Derby County: B+
Grade For DC United: C
Wayne Rooney to Derby County Overview
Wait a second. When did that happen? Wayne Rooney is all set to make a sensational return to English soccer in January, when he joins up EFL Championship side Derby County. Quite the surprise, isn’t it?
But wait, there’s a catch! He’s joining in a player-coach role, which will not only see him take the field for the Rams, but also act as a mentor to the players. It’s similar to the role Ashley Cole took upon joining Derby last season. So don’t expect seeing Wazza play ninety minutes through the rest of Derby’s second half of the season.
Now, while joining in January won’t allow Rooney to influence their chase for Premier League promotion, this also comes as a major shock for DC United. They were flying high with thoughts of winning the MLS Eastern Conference and more, but losing a vital player like Rooney brings them back to the ground.
Moreover, they are also losing their knight in shining armour to have upgraded their reputation ever since he arrived. Let’s just say replacing him with be a task just as difficult as winning the MLS championship.
What impact should we expect?
Wayne Rooney’s had quite the career revival in the MLS with DC United. Since his move to the US, the former Manchester United striker has been involved in 35 goals (23g, 12a) which has only been surpassed by Carlos Vela and Josef Martinez. Rooney has produced some of the biggest highlights in the league since he came over too.
Now, I think it’s fair to say the jump from the MLS to the exhausting Championship isn’t easy to take for any player. Rooney isn’t getting any younger and at 33 years of age can only play limited games. That being said, when he does play, the 33-year-old is also capable of producing magic.
As seen in the MLS, he’s still gotten that killer goal-scoring instinct which made him among the world’s best at one point. He’s also amplified his creativity while being more vocal, something that’ll help the youngsters. However, what is crucial is that he also joins as a coach. Rooney will work alongside Philip Cocu’s coaching staff, helping the players train and get prepared for games.
Moreover, he’ll also be responsible for coaching the academy players coming through the system. For someone as experienced as Rooney, I think the players should be excited to be working under his guidance to improve themselves. It’ll also be at Derby where he probably works on his coaching licenses, as the former United man has already hinted at reverting to management soon.
There’s also a good chance he returns back to Manchester United, where he apparently wants to work alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer soon. The Norwegian’s already working with a mate of Rooney’s in Michael Carrick. Going by how all-hands-on-deck he is with management, for me, OGS will gladly open his arms to reuniting with another former team-mate which such varied expertise.
Derby County (B+)
That’s one way for Derby to change an England-legend for another one. They’re taking a risk on him as a player, but his expertise in injecting a winning-mentality into the squad makes him invaluable.
Also, If they also manage Premier League promotion, there’s nothing better than Rooney when it comes to performing at the highest level.
DC United (C)
Losing Rooney creates a big roadblock in DC United’s path to future glory. He’s been the heart of the team and won them so many games ever since his arrival from Everton.
Ola Kamara is apparently replacing him, but it just won’t be the same excitement without Wazza.