ORLANDO, July 31 — Wayne Rooney stressed yesterday that his future remains in Major League Soccer amid new suggestions his family are unsettled in Washington and want him to return to England before his current contract expires.
The former England and Manchester United forward bristled when asked about stories circulating in England that wife Coleen has demanded he quits North America when his current DC United contract expires at the end of 2021.
Rooney, in Orlando ahead of today’s MLS All-Star match against Atletico Madrid, says he has started work on his coaching badges and admits he wants to follow the likes of new Chelsea coach Frank Lampard and make the transition from player to manager.
The striker signed a three-and-a-half-year deal last summer following his move from Everton.
But when asked by AFP if his wife has put down demands for him to quit football for the sake of his family, Rooney snapped: “Is that what was in the media? That my wife has got her own way?
“Those reports are a bit far fetched. I’m concentrating on playing for DC United and trying to get them into the playoffs.
“I haven’t thought about anything beyond that.
“I am a bit tired as I left on Tuesday morning at 4am to come to Orlando but I feel in good shape.”
Rooney has enjoyed his spell in MLS, scoring 23 goals in 42 appearances.
At the age of 33, however, the Liverpool-born star knows his playing career won’t last forever.
“Coaching is something which I have thought about for a long time,” Rooney said.
“I’m in the process now of going through my badges. It would be a shame for me to finish playing and just walk away from the game.
“I have a desire to go into management and hopefully the right opportunity will come up.”
Rooney will team with fellow European star Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Carlos Vela, the Mexcian forward and current MLS goals leader, against an Atletico side boasting the likes of Spanish international Diego Costa and Portuguese wonderkid Joao Felix.
LA Galaxy forward Ibrahimovich, 37, gave the impression of someone who would rather be resting than taking part in an exhibition game in the searing Florida heat and humidity.
The Swede, however, undoubtedly loves the limelight, telling AFP: “It’s a game which has to be played. It’s important for MLS. This is their global window to play against a fantastic team like Atletico, but I just hope no one gets injured.
“All of our players have important games to come in our own season. We’re over halfway through now.
“I’m enjoying it in MLS though. I just how consider how my body feels. If I feel good, I’ll continue to play.
“What do I want to do after I finish playing? I don’t know. My whole life has been football.” — AFP