D.C. United forward Wayne Rooney has said he doesn't plan to follow in the footsteps of other football veterans by moving back to Europe on loan in January and that he plans to remain in Major League Soccer.
The Manchester United legend told ESPN FC's Sebastian Salazar he wants "to give everything" to his employers and plans to stay in the United States to be with his family:
Sebastian Salazar @SebiSalazarFUT
“I’m committed to D.C., and I don’t think it’d be right for me to start flying back and forth to play on loan for another team.” Wayne Rooney shuts down potential loan this winter. Full interview today on @ESPNFC. We talk #DCU, #ThreeLions, #MUFC. And there MIGHT be an apology. https://t.co/MWsR69h2lO
Rooney, who turned 33 on Wednesday, made 676 combined appearances for the Red Devils and boyhood club Everton, whom he rejoined for the 2017-18 campaign. He left for Washington in June and signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with D.C.
His injection of match-winning quality has helped lift United back into the MLS play-offs after they missed out last year, and he scored 12 goals and recorded six assists in 19 league appearances for his new outfit.
Rooney also spoke to Salazar of his refusal to be wooed with preferential treatment upon arriving at the club and how he instead wanted parity with his team-mates:
D.C. United accumulated 14 points in 14 games this season prior to Rooney's arrival. In the 20 league games since his July introduction, the club has racked up 36 points for a much-improved 1.8 points-per-game average.
In fact, the team has improved in all areas since the former England captain made his bow.
The Black and Red scored 35 times in 20 games following Rooney's debut for a small increase in their goals-per-game ratio, but the club has also more than halved its goals-against rate since he was added to the squad.
D.C. have leaked 20 goals in MLS since July 15 (one per game) and kept four clean sheets in that time. They only managed one clean sheet in the 14 league outings pre-Rooney and conceded 29 times, an average of 2.07 goals conceded per game.
Fox Sports pundit Alexi Lalas rallied against those who suggest venturing to Major League Soccer is little more than a pension scheme for aged greats of the sport:
It's hard to argue against that logic. Rooney has said he will spend Christmas with his family in England but appears to have found a new lease of life in Washington.
The malleable maestro is content to stick around where he could help D.C. to their first MLS Cup crown since 2004, the year he moved to Manchester.
Nothing less is to be expected of England's record goalscorer, who spent 13 years at Old Trafford before returning to Merseyside, having now set up new roots in the United States.