Some stars who departed the Premier League for Major League Soccer: David Beckham. Tim Cahill. Jermain Defoe. Clint Dempsey. Didier Drogba. Steven Gerrard. Tim Howard. Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Frank Lampard. Bastian Schweinsteiger. Shaun Wright-Phillips. And when the MLS transfer window opens July 10, you’ll be able to add Wayne Rooney to that long, illustrious list.
Do You Remember His Glory Days with Manchester United?
Rooney has been an absolutely spectacular superstar in the Premier League for a long, long time. His legendary career started (at just 16 years old) and now ends (age 32) at Everton, with the glory years (13 of them) at Manchester United sandwiched in between. Just take a look at these jaw-dropping Premiership milestones:
- 208 goals (second only to Alan Shearer) and 103 assists (third most)
- 284 wins
- Player of the Season (2009/10)
- 5-time Champion (2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2010/11, 2012/13)
In fantasy, Rooney has been instrumental to plenty of managers’ successes over the years as a key cog in group-winning squads. In the Official Fantasy Portal with data going back to 2006/07, he has enjoyed four seasons with 180+ fantasy points: 184 in 2006/07, 224 in 2009/10, 230 in 2011/12, and 190 in 2013/14. By comparison, the most Harry Kane has scored in a season so far is 224 (in 2016/17).
In Fantrax with data going back to 2011/12, Rooney has delivered two huge seasons: 418 points in 2011/12 and 383 in 2013/14. This season, only three players are slated to finish with 383+ points: Mo Salah, Harry Kane and Kevin De Bruyne.
Or is it Rooney the England Star Who is Seared into Your Memory?
Of course, if you missed the youngster taking the Premier League by storm, he came to simultaneous prominence by shining brightly on the international stage, becoming at 17 the youngest player to appear and score for the English national team (Theo Walcott was subsequently capped at a younger age). Rooney starred for the Three Lions across World Cup and Euro competitions spanning from 2004 through 2016. While the team never hoisted any of those trophies, Rooney’s 53 goals eclipsed Bobby Charlton’s 49 to become the nation’s top all-time goal scorer.
What is in Store for This Late Chapter of Rooney’s Legacy?
We all remember Rooney for his quick burst, lethal finishing, and savvy passing as he starred at forward for the Red Devils and Three Lions. (Of course, along with that, there were also plenty of passionate outbursts, horrible penalty kicks, his oft-discussed hairline, and several off-field controversies.) This season at Everton, he turned into more of an afterthought as a merely serviceable midfielder, seemingly trotting around in slow motion. He was more of a field general in the center rather than a major leading the attack.
Is Rooney going to be a great ticket-seller for a new stadium? Is he a star with something left in the tank who can turn the team’s fortunes around? Both? Or neither? Well, MLS and DC United are hoping for C, but they’d surely settle for either A or B.
Nobody is expecting the immediate impact that Beckham, Keane or Ibrahimovic delivered with LA Galaxy. That’s too much to ask. But Rooney fans from his Premier League and England days will be watching closely and rooting for him to get his mojo back and make an impact both on and off the grass.
True fans of MLS and American soccer in general, however, may actually be better served in rooting for him to fail. If a past-his-prime player who was an afterthought for a middling English Premier League team can be a vital player on a storied MLS team, that’s actually an indictment of MLS (or is it an indictment of Everton management?). The end result you cheer for may ultimately depend upon whether you care more about a washed up English star’s pride or the current and future state of American soccer.
No matter how things turn out, though, we’ve always got a wonderful array of Manchester United and England memories. After all, who can ever forget that beautiful bicycle kick strike against Manchester City?
How do you feel about the living legend leaving for DC United? Were you hoping Rooney would stay with Everton longer, or perhaps go somewhere else? What’s your favorite fantasy memory? Let us know in the comments!