Wayne Rooney returned to the American capital earlier this year with DC United positioned bottom of the Eastern Conference — where they remain even if the former Manchester United and England star’s arrival helped boost morale around the club.
You can only imagine how much excitement Rooney’s return brought to the Washington club. It needed a lift and they haven’t had anything to shout about since he left them as a player in 2019.
Rooney earned his job as DC United manager by impressing everyone during his previous stint in charge at Derby County. Although they got relegated last season, United’s all-time top goalscorer deserves a great deal of credit for his work in the Championship.
Since taking charge at DC, Rooney has managed two wins, three draws and six losses.
However, in a new interview with The Times, Rooney explains that he thinks not enough English managers are willing to move abroad because they are stuck inside their comfort zone.
“I’m rebuilding a club, rebuilding a squad and a big attraction is working with different nationalities, not just of players but staff. My ambition one day is to manage at the top and that (a multinational environment) is what you get at top clubs. I looked and thought it’s a great chance to experience it.
“It’s a chance to take myself out of my comfort zone and develop as a coach. I could have sat at home and waited — managers get sacked, normally, around this time and jobs would have come up, but I think in England we have the best league in the world and a great structure below it and we’re a bit stubborn. Not enough managers take that risk and challenge themselves by going abroad. Too many just wait to see what comes up in England.
“To go abroad is a gamble but I believe in myself and you could say ‘what is a safe option? Whatever club you go to, as a manager your job’s not safe. I just thought this is a way of furthering my education. Yeah, I played at the top but you go back to square one and I’m at the start of my coaching career and you have to put the work in to get to where you want to go. I want to learn, get better, develop.”
Rooney is a young manager and even though we know the MLS is not of the standards we see in the top European leagues, I have no doubt he will gain lots of experience from managing out there. It can’t do him any harm.
We certainly don’t see enough managers take jobs abroad, but in many cases, I think there is an arrogance when it comes to learning new languages.