Wayne’s New World: Just Like Manchester?

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 14: Wayne Rooney #9 of D.C. United warms up before playing against the Vancouver Whitecaps during his MLS debut at Audi Field on July 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Manchester has a reputation for rain. And on July 25th in Washington, it poured heavily. Maybe it reminded Wayne Rooney of his previous home. His DC United team would play New York Red Bulls in the Atlantic Cup after a long weather delay. Wayne’s new world. Just like Manchester?.

Wayne’s New World

Can Rooney Deliver?

Whether he can match his Premier League scoring exploits will depend on his fitness and the abilities of those around him.  At Manchester United, he had world-class supporting players to set up chances. In the MLS he will be less well served. But on the evidence from the clash with the Red Bulls, he could benefit from the skills of livewire Luciano Acosta. The diminutive Argentinian, in combination with the other Designated Player, Paul Arriola, could be the men to provide the right passes for the Liverpudlian.

Not Sharp Enough – Yet

Brought on with just over 30 minutes to play at the new Audi Field, Rooney looked reasonably fit. And he was soon involved in the action, firstly claiming a penalty when hustled by New York defender, then having a couple of half chances. But the telling moment came when he was set up by Acosta. Rather than shooting, he hesitated and the chance was lost. A sharper Rooney would have delivered. Scoring a late equalizer would have been a memorable start for the 32-year-old.

Bradley Wright-Phillips Overshadows Rooney

Instead, the headlines were made by another, older, Englishman, Bradley Wright-Phillips. The ex-Manchester City and Charlton striker not only scored the decisive goal but also set an MLS record in becoming the quickest player to reach 100 league goals. Often overshadowed by his brother and hardly revered in England, Wright-Phillips has been a scoring success in the US.

Alternatively, Politics or Fishing?

Time will tell if England star Wayne Rooney can emulate him. He will surely get opportunities but might suffer some frustration with those around him. However, being in DC, he could always follow the political machinations or spend time in the superb Smithsonian museums or perhaps do some fishing in the Potomac.

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