Wayne Rooney has made a good choice to join Derby but has not treated DC United fairly

Wayne Rooney has always said that he wanted to start coaching once his career was coming to an end and the latest news is that he will become a player/coach for Derby County in England’s Championship.

But how does that leave DC United, Rooney’s current team in the MLS?

The choice that Rooney has made is good for him and in some ways understandable but at the same time it does leave a question of loyalty to his American club. Rooney has made a fantastic impact in the MLS, Where DC United have gone from being near the bottom of their conference to mixing with the top teams, they will make the final play-offs this season as they also try and win their conference. On top of that Rooney has been amazing on and off the field. Scoring brilliant goals, linking up well with the team, being influential in the dressing room and the fans have absolutely loved him. Had he stayed it could be argued that he would have made a much bigger impact on American soccer than even David Beckham.

Rooney had signed a 3 year contract with DC United and that is set to be terminated after 18 months. Just half his time, and yes there is a question of what do contracts actually mean?

Of course there are two sides to Rooney’s switch. The first is that the move should be good for him. He obviously wants to coach and that is going to start in his home country England. Derby has been a good starting point, after all it worked for Frank Lampard who stayed just a season before getting the high profile job at Chelsea. Rooney will learn from current manager Phillip Cocu and will also play for the club possibly for six months, maybe a season and a half.

Still with Rooney’s career and time on his side from a coaching perspective ahead, DC United have the right to feel aggrieved about his decision. They haven’t said anything at this point, but he was so popular with the club and fans, that they thought he would be around until at least the summer of 2021. Instead Rooney will leave at the end of the year. That is something because at least he will be playing for them when the crucial play-offs come up. Had he left now, it would have been very wrong.

Rooney has made a good choice, but his swift decision is still evidence that footballers seemingly live on a very different planet to the rest of us, where sadly some of the loyalty and passion and a further bridging gap between fans and players has developed.

Wayne Rooney is turning into a legend in America with DC United

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It’s fair to say that when Wayne Rooney left England and the Premier League after a fantastic career which saw him play for Manchester United and Everton and win trophies for United, one could have thought that Rooney’s next project would have been inspired by money and an easy life. But what the ex England international has done is actually open up a brand new chapter into his legacy in football. America love him.

And why wouldn’t the MLS love Rooney? Instead of playing out his days what Rooney did when he joined DC United is that he took it 100% seriously and this paid dividends. Firstly because the MLS is not a pushover league like it may have been a decade ago and secondly seeing the desire and passion in Rooney and his work rate attracted him to the hearts of the DC United fans. They have taken him in and he has become a local hero for the club.

Take last season when DC United were close to the bottom of the league as they waited on Rooney’s appearance. Once he played the team shot up the standings, the confidence grew and so did the wins. This is down to Rooney who has always been a great motivator.

Rooney scores goals too even at 33 he is showing no signs of slowing down and has bagged 23 goals from 40 games. What has been remarkable is that Rooney has had his own personal problems while in America. Settling down was one, and then he was arrested for being drunk last year- usually this could have meant the beginning of the end for a career in America, but Rooney has been able to sail through all of that and is showing the fans the goals.

Just last week Rooney scored a goal from inside his own half against Orlando some 70 yards out, and it was no fluke and this is the second time he has done this.

Rooney was evidently born to play football but with his success in America one can ask is he having a better impact than golden boy David Beckham? Both utter professionals of course but a little less is expected of Rooney who is delivering the goods week in and week out.

As for winning trophies in America, that is up in the air. Currently DC United are in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference and are just 1 point behind league leaders Philadelphia Union. They will make the play-offs that is for sure and they should be regarded with a fit Rooney on board as one of the favourites to claim the overall title.

 

Why brilliant Sergio Aguero won’t beat Alan Shearer’s Premier League record

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If you were to list the best ever strikers in Premier League history, surely Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero has to be up there. The Argentinian scored a superb hattrick at the weekend as City beat Arsenal 3-1 to keep up the pressure on Liverpool at the top of the league and has been such a consistent player for the Manchester side.

Indeed one could say that Aguero has been the best forward in the Premier League for the past five years. Aguero has now scored 157 times since joining City in the summer of 2011 from Atletico Madrid, and he has scored some brilliant and memorable goals and been able to win countless trophies with City.

But question remains, if he is that good can be beat a record that has stayed since the early 2000s, the one of all time Premier League goal scorer? The answer seems to be no.

Let’s look into that deeper. Firstly Shearer’s record stands at 260 goals, and so Aguero would need 104 goals to beat it. Aguero is averaging 20 goals a season once we take his tally into account and divide that by the seasons he has played. This season he has scored 14 goals and he is on course to get anything between 25-30 goals. His highest ever in the league was recorded in 2014/15 where he notched 26 goals, even though City didn’t win the title, that year it went to Chelsea.

One problem for Aguero is how long does he have left in the Premier League? By the start of next season he will be 31 and it does seem unlikely he will leave the club in the near future. At the same time he may be tempted to go to China for an even bigger pay day but there is also the calling card of his home country Argentina, where Aguero would love to end his career there. We are seeing in some aspects how footballers can extend their careers by a few years, but at the very top where Aguero is now, he has at best 2 more seasons on top of this one.

That is the real problem in Ageuro breaking the record. Because if he was to do so, he would need at least another four seasons of scoring 25 goals in each one and not trying to get injured which is a possibility for him. What Aguero does have is a better games to goals ratio than Shearer, but it is unlikely he will be able to beat the former Blackburn and Newcastle forwards record.

A realistic option for him would be to break the 200 goal barrier. Only two players have ever done so, Shearer of course and the other being Wayne Rooney who left the Premier League having acquired a total of 208 goals. Aguero has the chance to break it and he is currently in 8th place. His next target will be to get to 164 goals where he would overtake both Jermain Defoe and Robbie Fowler and one suspects that Aguero will be able to do that this season.

If he stays fit and remains at City for another two seasons after this he could end up with as much as 220 goals which would put him in 2nd place- he would be richly deserving of that as he has clearly been one of the best strikers not just in the Premier League but in Europe of the past decade.

Celebration of Rooney’s underwhelming career is the perfect reminder of how far England have come

Wayne Rooney’s grand farewell at Wembley on Thursday night split opinion. Things that are out of the ordinary tend to, and a return special appearance of this ilk had not been seen for an England international.

It gave extra meaning to a match played in front of thousands of empty seats, it gave Rooney a last ovation (well, several of them) from the fans who saw him at his best and worst in a Three Lions jersey.

The match itself was a bit of a damp squib. A young USA team was no match for even England’s second string, which allowed Rooney to enjoy a relaxed spell on the pitch in the second half.

His international career ends with 120 caps and 53 goals. No other England international has scored more. Rooney won the England Men’s Senior Player of the Year on four occasions and captained his country numerous times. All of these things are impressive, and he will be remembered for a long time as a very good, committed England international.

The numbers are impressive, but Rooney’s international career was ultimately forgettable.

Some of that is down to the immense hype as a teenager, some is down to team failings. The now 33-year-old served the national team for a long time, his durability as impressive as his records. In those 120 appearances, though, aside of the landmarks, there is a lack of defining moments (positive ones, at least). Rooney never had his Beckham against Greece free-kick, he never had his Owen against Argentina wonder goal.

A lot of that was out of his hands. Injuries and dysfunctional teams limited his effectiveness, particularly as managers could never seem to decide where he slotted into the side best of all. Rooney suffered alongside the Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard midfield mess – he was seldom allowed the freedom that he perhaps needed.

Rooney’s grand goodbye on Thursday might have been over the top for some. There’s plenty to criticise about Rooney’s international career, but he was available for England more than many others and his numbers secure him a place in England’s history. The timing of this, however, was perfect as Southgate’s younger, better England move onto the next chapter.

It might have all been about Rooney, but good performances from Jadon Sancho and Callum Wilson were just another reminder of the bright future of England’s national team. Moving on from the awkwardly named Golden Generation has understandably taken time. Rooney’s night under the arch was a full stop to an era of disappointment.

England’s performances since their World Cup heartbreak have shown that their journey to the semi-final will/should not be the peak of this generation. Southgate might not have players with the reputations of Rooney, Lampard or Gerrard, but he has a lot of talent and a clear plan.

Rooney deserved his big night. His England career, though, could look even more disappointing in a few years if the Three Lions continue on this trajectory.

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‘Farewell’ for Rooney is pathetic

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There was a time when earning an England cap really meant something.

It was the absolute pinnacle of every player’s career, and a responsibility that each took seriously.

The difficulty of consistently finding oneself in the senior set-up was obvious by the lack of players that had managed to amass anywhere close to 100 caps, let alone exceed that number.

In the recent past, the handing out of caps has become more and more contentious, but none more so that the most recent; a 120th appearance for Wayne Rooney, two years after his last game for his country. Continue reading

Rooney departs with no fanfare but history will be kind to his legacy

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Farewell, then, Wayne. You will be missed. Or perhaps not. It’s difficult to gauge how well the former Manchester United striker is remembered and liked by fans but whatever side of the debate you sit on, there’s only one incontrovertible conclusion to reach: Wayne Rooney had a good run. The man had a brilliant career in the Premier League, and as time washes away and we’re all turned to dust, history will be kind to his legacy.

In case you haven’t heard, Rooney left Everton this week after signing a three-and-a-half year deal with MLS side D.C. United, bringing to an end his 16-year career in the Premier League. It has been evident that at, 32, Rooney isn’t quite the force of nature he once was. The pace is gone and so is the explosiveness; that ability to bring fire and potent force to a game as he so desired. It’s the reason he was back at Everton last summer in the first place: he was no longer fit for purpose at a club of United’s ambition.

There’s a little sadness here, too. In the middle of a World Cup where Gareth Southgate’s England are winning hearts and putting points on the board, Rooney, a veteran of three largely doomed campaigns, departs quietly from centre stage to the worst side in MLS. It is the same World Cup where Cristiano Ronaldo, Rooney’s old mate and six months his senior, is shining brightly with four goals in three games.

But it would be uncharitable to view Rooney’s career solely through the lens of the latter years of his career, especially when the loss of pace is directly related to how he started his playing days like a house on fire. Rooney is not like most 32-year-olds in terms of his playing age. This is the man who took the game by surprise as a stocky 16-year-old with rage in his eyes and an incredible eye for goal. A man who scored a hat trick on his United debut. The goals and numbers bear witness to his greatness. 253 goals in 559 appearances for United, 28 in 118 for Everton and 53 in 119 for England. He is the record goalscorer for United and England, two of the most important institutions in world football. You do not achieve that by being a fraud. When Ronaldo was at his pomp during that glorious 2008/09 season, Rooney was the the dutiful teammate who willfully played out of position numerous times for the greater good.

As Rooney departs with no fanfare to the other side of the Atlantic, it should be remembered that when he was at his best, England had no answer to a player who could make magic happen all the while looking like your next door neighbour.

Mourinho correct to consider Man Utd an improving side

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He may be no stranger to a back-page headline or two, but Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho has been the subject of more debate than usual over the past few months. Whether it’s been a declaration that the Portuguese has “lost his touch”, “lost the dressing room” or whatever else it is supposed to be that he’s misplaced, it could be said that rarely has Mourinho cut such a underwhelming figure on the touchlines.

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VIDEO: Sanchez starts ahead of Walcott’s return to the Emirates

The transfer window has now closed as managers look to implement new players into their respective squads.

To cover some of the latest news and upcoming fixtures, Nicholas Carroll provides this week’s Euro Fantasy League preview.

This week’s Premier League sees Theo Walcott return to the Emirates fresh from scoring a brace midweek while Alexis Sanchez is looking for his second start for Manchester United’s clash at home to Huddersfield.

In La Liga, Atletico Madrid will look to continue their unbeaten run at home against Valencia while in Serie A, Napoli provide significant fantasy potential for their match against last-placed Benevento. Continue reading

La Liga stars set to clash in El Clasico- Video Preview

There’s no Christmas break for fantasy managers so Nicholas Carroll is back with another Euro Fantasy League preview of the weekend’s fixtures. Continue reading

Best Strikers in the Premier League – Week 15

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The Premier League train continued rolling in to the festive period with the latest round of matches, as we saw Big Sam Allardyce take charge of Everton for the first time, Man United beating Arsenal in north London and Man City leaving it late against West Ham. With that said, let’s see which strikers did the best job for their club over the past weekend.

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