There are very few players in the world that generate a deluge of emotions from the fans and pundits quite like Wayne Rooney. Often considered as the ‘guy who never fulfilled his potential’ Wayne has gone through a lot.
The top scorer for both United and England returned to Everton following a 13 year-long spell at United. Since then he has scored 36, made 17, in 91 league appearances, while playing in different positions ranging from a CDM/CM/CAM (mainly at Everton, Derby) to a proper Number 9 or a CAM at DC United.
But what matters is the impact he had or is having at all the clubs post United. Here we look at Rooney’s illustrious post-United career which is not filled by trophies, however by moments and sacrifices.
On 9th July 2017, it was announced that Wayne was returning to his boyhood club on a free transfer. The move received mixed reactions from the fans, with some considering it to be a typical ‘Business move’.
Rooney as always proved everyone wrong by scoring on his league debut and winning 3 points against Stoke City. Then started the Rooney remontada, he scored against Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool with Everton drawing 2 and losing 1. He also scored a hat-trick against West Ham, which included that 59-yard staggering goal.
By Christmas, Rooney had already scored ten league goals and was amongst the top 5 goalscorers in the Premier League, however, managerial changes were not fair to him. Sam Allardyce joined Everton and shifted the top goal scorer to midfield.
Wayne didn’t manage to build on the formidable scoring run he was on, from midfield, however, he took on the new role of a midfield general with pride.
As the season approached its end, there were speculation that Sam Allardyce was going to make way for Marco Silva. Rooney concerned about his future role went to the owners and Allardyce. The latter frankly told him that he wanted Rooney to stay but wouldn’t guarantee game time.
After leaving Everton, Rooney said that the owners didn’t have clarity with him and he was not happy.
A lot of footballing people were not happy with Rooney being let go by Everton. Dean Saunders, the former Liverpool and Aston Villa striker said – “11 goals for Rooney. Top scorer for Everton last season, top of the assists, Sigurdsson and him were level. Passes on the pitch, important passes, he was top of that. I think they won one game when he wasn’t playing. And they let him go!”
“People are going to say, ‘his legs are gone’. They’re not! Have a look at his stats. Still, now he would have an effect on that team today.”
On 28th June 2018, Rooney penned down a deal to join DC United. Just 4 days later, 2nd July was announced as Wayne Rooney day by the Washington DC mayor.
Americans were buzzing to see him in action and he didn’t disappoint, providing an assist on his debut.
Just after 3 games, he was made captain. Wazza scored his 1st for the club against Colorado rapids tucking the ball past his former teammate, Tim Howard. It was the same game in which he broke his nose while defending a corner.
Then came the 12th of August. DC United were up against Orlando City in what was an important game in the race for playoffs. With DC desperately needing a goal in the dying moments of the game, they won a corner in injury time, and the keeper was called up. Orlando City managed to clear the ball after which their players rushed forward. It seemed as though Orlando City would kill the game off. However, Wayne had other ideas. He sprinted, made a sensational last-ditch tackle, collected the ball, crossed it and found Acosta who scored and won the game for DC United. The stadium erupted, Wayne Rooney just went from peak Maldini to peak Pirlo in 10 seconds.
Rooney was on fire after that, scoring freekicks, penalties, tap-ins, long rangers you name it. And as usual, he scored a goal from midfield which he usually does for every club he plays.
DC United sat bottom of the East Conference table when Rooney came in but they managed to get into the play-offs. This shows his experience and impact.
The fairy tale sadly ended when DC United lost to Colombus Crew on penalties. But Wayne Rooney won a lot of honours including
– 3x MLS Player of the Week.
– 1x MLS Player of the Month.
– MLS Team of the Year.
– Club MVP award.
– Club Golden Boot.
The second season started with an injury for Rooney as he was forced off in the preseason game vs Bethlehem Steel after suffering a shin injury but due to sheer determination, he was back in time for the new season.
He scored his first hat-trick for DC, in a 5-0 win against River Salt Lake, also contributing an assist.
It was in this season when he scored his 300th club goal, a milestone which many footballers dream of reaching. In this season he helped DC reach the play-offs as well.
On 6th August 2019, Rooney rubber-stamped a deal to join Derby County as a player-coach.
No team had scored fewer goals in the Championship before the turn of the year than Derby (24). Derby were struggling and needed someone to step up.
On came Wayne Rooney and no team managed to score more goals than Derby County(22) till the COVID pandemic forced to stop the league.
The difference was there to be seen, but the Rooney we are watching at Derby is different. Putting in crunching tackles, controlling the midfield like a general, pinging balls, switching plays, there is just more to his game than scoring goals.
In 13 Championship games, he has scored 4 and made 2 from a CM/CDM spot.
Derby sat 17th before Rooney arrived, Now they sit 8th with 3 points off from the play-offs. Given Derby County’s recent form, it’s very likely that they’ll reach the play-offs and once again we might just see Rooney in the Premier League.
Written by Yusuf Rehman |
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