Wayne Rooney confirmed as Derby County player-coach after DC United transfer
FOOTBALL By Mirror | August 6th 2019 | 4 min read
Wayne Rooney's move to Derby County has been confirmed by the Rams - although he won't join until January.
Manchester United legend Rooney flew into the UK on Tuesday morning to finalise a deal to become a player-coach at Derby after moving from DC United.
Rooney, 33, will complete the current MLS season before linking up with Phillip Cocu and his Derby teammates in January, after signing an 18-month contract, which has the option of an additional year.
Rooney said: “I am very excited about the opportunity that Derby County have provided me with.
“I am looking forward to joining Phillip Cocu, his coaching staff and the first-team squad from the start of January. I am sure I can make a big contribution and can’t wait to meet everyone, especially the supporters.
“I am equally excited to begin my coaching career at Derby County working with both the first team and Academy.
“I must also take this opportunity to thank DC United, their owners, executives and supporters who have been superb to work with. I want them to know that I will give my all in support of our push for the play-offs.”
County faced late competition from Burnley and West Brom for the signing.
It was widely reported that wife Coleen wanted to move back to the UK, with their three sons Kai, nine, Klay, six, Kit, three, and 17-month-old daughter Cass.
Rooney hinted in his DC United departure interview that this is the case. He said: "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."
Cocu said: “Wayne Rooney is an extremely talented and top-class footballer.
“It is an exciting prospect for him to be joining Derby County and he can bring so much to this squad, both on and off the pitch. He has enjoyed a wonderful career, both in club football and for England, and he still has so much to give as well.
“His credentials speak for themselves. But to have a player with his leadership, skill, experience, character and work ethic will be huge for us. He knows what it takes to succeed as a player and I have no doubt he will have a positive impact right across the club.
“The inspiration and motivation this can generate is massive for all of our players from the first team right through to the youngsters in the Academy. It is entirely in keeping with, and in support of, the club’s philosophy and approach.
“I am looking forward to working with Wayne from the start of next year and welcoming him to the club.”
Rooney has been in spectacular form since moving to MLS side DC United from Everton last summer.
The 33-year-old has netted a series of eye-catching goals as he collected 25 notches in 45 games.
Rooney is both England and Manchester United's all-time greatest goalscorer, having netted 253 times for the Red Devils over 13 seasons and 53 over his international career.
Earlier on Tuesday, Derby owner Mel Morris told TalkSPORT: "It has been a couple of days in the offing. The starting point was we understood Wayne was keen to return to UK. We looked to see if we could do anything on the back of it.
"The key thing has been the conversations with Cocu, they were integral to the interest Wayne has.
"I'm sure once people hear news it has broken there will inevitably be interest on the back of that. I am confident we will sort it out.
"Why wouldn't we want a player with his background and playing career? He has demonstrated his leadership qualities over in the USA. Cocu is as excited as I am."
D.C. United co-chairmen Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien said: "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.
"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."
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