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Wayne Rooney agrees to join Derby as player-coach


Former England captain Wayne Rooney is to leave Washington-based DC United after agreeing a deal to become player-coach of English Championship side Derby County.

The 33-year-old signed an 18-month contract with the second-tier side, who under Rooney’s former England teammate Frank Lampard reached the play-off final last season.

Rooney, the record goalscorer for both his country and Manchester United, had flown from the United States to London for talks with the Championship club.

The deal. which was confirmed Tuesday afternoon, will see  Rooney join the club in January, after DC United’s 2019 season concludes.

The former Manchester United forward has more than two seasons left on his deal with the Major League Soccer side.

Morris feels Rooney could provide the impetus required to get the Rams, who lost to Aston Villa in last season’s play-off final, back into the Premier League.

The former Everton player is contracted to DC United until the end of the 2021 season but has made no secret of his desire to go into coaching.

“I’m confident this is something we will get sorted out,” said Morris.

“The starting point was that we understood Wayne was keen to return to the United Kingdom. We had a look and decided to see if we could actually do something on the back of that.

“The key thing was conversation he had with [Derby manager] Phillip Cocu.”

Derby appointed Rooney’s former England team-mate Frank Lampard as their manager last season, although he has since moved on to Chelsea.

Speaking about his managerial aspirations at last week’s MLS All-Stars match, Rooney said: “It’s something which I want to stay involved in; [my coaching badges] are going well.

“I’m obviously still a player and I want to continue to play. When the time is right I can go into coaching or management.”

Asked about the Rooney rumours after Monday’s opening 2-1 Championship win at Huddersfield Town, Cocu told BBC Radio Derby: “I can’t say anything about that.

“We’re working hard to complete the team and we always try to find the best player in a certain position.

“In the world of football, we cannot speak before it is signed.”

DC United are back in action on Sunday when they host LA Galaxy.

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