DC United have confirmed the appointment of their former player Wayne Rooney as their new head coach.

The 36-year-old played for DC United from 2018 to 2019 and recently stepped down as manager of Derby County last month after a turbulent 17-month spell that saw the English club relegated to the third tier amid financial trouble. 

The club also announced that interim manager Chad Ashton will remain in charge of DC United until Wayne Rooney receives his work visa, with his coaching staff set to be announced later.

The former striker also refuted his move being a “backward step” in his managerial career.

“I’ve seen a few articles, certainly back in England, on this being a possible backward step in my managerial career,” Rooney told reporters. “I really find that a bit disrespectful to this league.”

“And to come here back to the MLS, back to DC United was an exciting challenge for me, something which I feel can develop me as a coach,” he added.

Rooney took over as a full-time manager at Derby in January 2021 following a successful stint as interim player-manager the previous season.

He resigned last month, saying that he hoped Derby would be led by someone with fresh energy and not affected by the turmoil at the club.

“Of course, I’m an ambitious person. One day I want to manage at the top level, and this is part of that process,” Rooney said.

“But also the connection I’ve got with the club. I’ve been here before and there isn’t another MLS team I would’ve gone to other than DC United. So I’m proud to be here as manager.”

As a player, Rooney scored 253 goals for Manchester United winning five Premier League titles alognwith a Champions League with the club.

He is also England’s record scorer in international games with 53 goals but his record will soon be overtaken by Harry Kane who sits at 50.

DC United are second from bottom in the Eastern Conference with 17 points from as many games. They were thrashed 7-0 by Philadelphia Union in their last game and next host Columbus Crew

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