Wayne Rooney has revealed that fears of becoming a dead weight were what led him to leave boyhood club Everton for the second time, and take on a new challenge with D.C United.
D.C. United forward Wayne Rooney has revealed that fears of becoming a 'dead weight' were what led him to leave boyhood club Everton for the second time, just a single season after rejoining the Toffees from a 13-year spell at Manchester United.
Rooney scored 10 Premier League goals in 2017/18, his best league tally in three years, but with new manager Marco Silva now in charge at Goodison Park it became clear that the veteran would no longer have a regular place in the side.
"Everton made it clear if there was an offer there, they would be happy for me to go," Rooney told BBC Sport. "I understand they have brought a new manager in, got new staff, they obviously want to bring in players that manager wants.
"I am sure it will release money for the new players who come in. I am sure that was in their thinking. I said to them if that is what you want, I am not going to hang round and be a dead weight. I will go somewhere else and play."
Having completed the move to Major League Soccer earlier this month, England's all-time record goalscorer made his debut for new club D.C. United at the weekend, playing 32 minutes in a 3-1 win over Vancouver Whitecaps and providing an assist for the killer third goal.
Many eyebrows were raised when Rooney opted to move to Washington D.C. when it is usually clubs in New York, Los Angeles, Florida and Toronto that attract the big name foreign stars, but the 32-year-old felt the US capital was actually the best fit for his young family.
"I would not have come out if my family did not want to come out. They are my priority. It was important they came over with me," Rooney explained.
"I also felt the city was more suited to me and my family than Los Angeles or New York. I spoke to the owners, I was excited by the team. They told me about the new stadium and the new training ground they are opening next April. It felt like the club was moving in the right direction."
D.C. United are currently bottom of the Eastern Conference standings but have four, and in some cases even six, games in hand on the sides above them.
Rooney will also hope that he can have a similar impact in MLS to former Manchester United teammate Bastian Schweinsteiger, who joined a Chicago Fire in 2017 side that has been the worst in the league in 2016 and led the team into the MLS Cup playoffs.