Wayne Rooney was officially introduced as the latest member of D.C. United Monday afternoon at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. He can’t play in any games until the transfer window opens on July 10th, Rooney is expected to be in the lineup when the Black-and-Red open up Audi Field on July 14th. There wasn’t much to take from the presser outside of him being excited about the opportunity. It’s fair to wonder how he’ll fit in to the team or if there will be any changes from a tactical standpoint.
Mayor Muriel Bowser declared July 2nd “Wayne Rooney Day.”
One of the things that did stand out from today’s press conference was Rooney’s talk about leadership. It appears that he wants to fill that role for this team and relishes that opportunity. “I was excited by the project; the new stadium, the new training ground, the young team.” At 32-years old, he isn’t embarking on a journey that hasn’t been done before. There have been several players from abroad that have come to the MLS at what has been perceived as an older age and still done well.
“We have to improve and start getting better results. I think there is talent in the team, maybe with a little bit of guidance and a little bit of help, on and off of the pitch, I can help them and they can help me. So, I am looking forward to it—a new challenge, a new culture, a new league to play in and new teammates. I’m excited for the first game, I can’t wait to get started.” – Wayne Rooney
No matter where he lines up, the Black-and-Red should be able to put pressure on opposing teams from an attacking standpoint. Luciano Acosta has taken a step forward this year in terms of being consistent, really coming into his own as the team’s playmaker with a team leading six assists. Yamil Asad has started to find his groove as well, recording five goals and two assists on the year. Darren Mattocks has also been productive up top, leading the team with seven goals on the year.
Rooney has participated in training sessions already, but not with the full team as of yet. After a tough loss in New England, D.C. United headed straight to Los Angeles to play the Galaxy on Wednesday. They’ll return afterwards and Rooney will get a chance to train with the full team this Friday. From this point on, it’s just counting the days until the team plays their inaugural match at their new home, Audi Field. Training may give a couple more answers about what’s to come, but nothing will be more telling than the games themselves. That said, it’s clear that D.C. United feels they secured a big piece of their vision to get back to being successful. It would have to start with making a run to get above the line in the standings, possibly securing a playoff spot.