Wayne Rooney will be joining Derby County this January 2020. The former Manchester United star is set to return to England after less than two years in the United States with Major League Soccer’s DC United uniform.
The Rams had an impressive season in the Championship under Frank Lampard directions. Despite not having as talented a squad as Norwich City and Aston Villa who both ended up winning promotion, they ended up qualifying for the playoffs and ultimately lost the final against Dean Smith’s Villa side.
Derby will now be hoping that Rooney can complete Lampard’s unfinished business which will involve navigating the club to the Premier League for the first time since the 2007/08 season. Rooney will join not only as a player but will also be aiming to learn as much as he can as he looks to make the transition to management once his playing days are over.
Rooney may not be the player that he was during the heyday of his career with Manchester United, but judging by his performances in Major League Soccer, one can certainly be convinced that he is still good enough to play in the Premier League. He may not be as explosive anymore or as prolific in terms of scoring goals but that has been replaced by incredible tactical awareness which was seen during his final days with Manchester United and during the 2017/18 season which he spent with his boyhood club, Everton.
So far in 2019, Rooney has played 24 games in all competitions for DC United, scoring 13 goals whilst also recording several assists. These are excellent statistics, especially for a player who is nearing his 34th birthday. Since his switch to the MLS, we have seen some mouth-watering displays from Rooney which have caused Man United die-hard supporters to feel nostalgic about the past. Some of his moments of brilliance have included incredible long-range crosses and lobs and goals from beyond his own half.
Rooney makes up for scoring lesser goals nowadays by setting them up for team-mates. There is no doubt that the arrival of Rooney at the Pride Park Stadium will benefit the squad. He will be able to inspire and transfer his knowledge to talented young players such as Jayden Bogle, Kieran Dowell and Krystian Bielik. The addition of Rooney will also help the club in the transfer market. Many players might be tempted to join Phillip Cocu’s squad if they have one of England’s all-time great players in the squad.
Can Rooney succeed as a manager?
This is something that many of us will be wondering. In spite of his good abilities on the field, Rooney had his fair share of troubles on and off the pitch during his time at Manchester United as well as with England. Some will argue that this will all not bode well for him as a manager. However, if he has learnt from his mistakes and puts in the hard work, he could potentially succeed, he does have the tactical awareness to do so.