Wayne Rooney has had one of the most glittering careers in English and Premier League history; the man is a legend of both club and country.
Individually, he is England and Man United’s all time record goal scorer, as well as being one of two men to have scored over 200 Premier League goals. He won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2009/10 and made the Premier League team of the year on three occasions.
As a team member, he has won the Premier League five times, the FA Cup, three League Cups, the Champions League, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
There’s very little the player hasn’t won, including the respect of players, managers and fans all over the world.
But he has reached the twilight years of his career. Although 32 does not seem that old, when his career has been as long and as demanding as his, the body can only take so much.
So when Rooney joined MLS outfit DC United in the summer from Everton over the summer. He had given all he could to his boyhood club after his return, but new manager Marco Silva obviously did not see him in his plans.
Although the MLS could be seen as the graveyard for many ageing players, Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard, and recently Zlatan Ibrahimovic being examples of this, the Man United legend is making a good stab of his time in the U.S. capital. In 14 appearances, he has already notched five goals and six assists in the league, as his team slowly climbs up the Eastern Conference.
As for his playing days, it seems likely that he will end his career in the United States, just like so many other legends have done. He may well have another two good seasons in him, but his time is definitely coming to an end. Eventually, the curtain will fall on an England player that has perhaps had the greatest career since the members of the 1966 World Cup winning squad.
However, his career in football is far from over. During his last years at United, he was earning his coaching qualifications, something that Sir Alex Ferguson always reiterated was crucial for players to earn whilst still playing. It paid off for Ryan Giggs, who was able to seamlessly transition from playing to management.
The 119-cap England international has said before that he would like to coach the Everton academy soon, before going on to coach the first team one day. He clearly has a plan for his retirement, and it is in the same direction as many England players before him.
Two other England players, Steven Gerrard and Lampard, contemporaries of Rooney, seem to be pioneering the path that the Evertonian is to follow. Both finished their careers in the MLS, and both have now gone into management. Gerrard spent a season in charge of Liverpool under-18s, before taking charge of Scottish giants Rangers at the beginning of this season. Lampard was appointed manager of Championship side Derby over the summer, and has started his career in management very well.
It is no secret that Gerrard and Lampard would like to return to the clubs where they were legends at, winning multiple trophies, including a Champions League; Liverpool and Chelsea respectively. Likewise, Rooney clearly wants to do the very same with Everton.
Therefore, when looking at what the future holds for Rooney, Gerrard and Lampard are the best players to look at. Their careers are about five years ahead of the DC United player, and they are laying a blueprint for his future. His playing days may not be much longer, but his career in management is just beginning.