Wayne Rooney

Reviewing Wayne Rooney’s managerial career to date: Should DC United stick with former Derby boss?

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As a player, Wayne Rooney was a hero to many and a villain to some. He was undeniably good at scoring goals whether he was playing for the England national team, Manchester United, or even D.C. United. Yet, how exactly does the Wayne Rooney’s managerial record stack up against his goal tally?

Wayne Rooney’s managerial record

Wayne Rooney took his first jaunt toward the side of the pitch as he joined Derby County in both playing and coaching capacities in January 2020. Having a global superstar join the club would not only foster on-field results but also raise the profile of the club. The plan was to assist Phillip Cocu in his efforts to get the club promoted to the Premier League.

Wayne Rooney at Derby might seem like an odd sentence, yet this was only going to get stranger. Having joined mid-season in 2019/20, he didn’t have enough time/impact to take the Rams up immediately.

The subsequent season wasn’t of the same ilk as the club won just one game in its first 11 and sunk to the bottom of the league. The Derby County board sacked Cocu in November 2020 and named Rooney as the new manager.

He made his managerial debut in Derby County’s clash with Bristol City at Ashton Gate, which ended in defeat. It took some time for the Rooney managerial statistics to become pleasant reading as Rooney didn’t win as manager until his fifth game in charge. After that 1-0 victory against Millwall, Rooney hit some form. His Derby side would go unbeaten for a further three games. Shortly after, Rooney notched up his career-biggest win as a manager as Derby brushed aside Birmingham City 4-0 away from home.


Rooney put together arguably his best part of the season in January as he managed three successive 1-0 victories. These came against Bournemouth, Queens Park Rangers, and Bristol City. Inconsistency soon crept back in, however, and a six-game losing streak saw the club in a relegation battle.

Rooney was able to keep the club in the second tier despite a 3-3 draw on the final day of the season. Given that Rooney had kept the club up with limited resources through a COVID-19 embroiled season, the board still held the England legend in high regard. He won 10 of the 35 games he managed, finishing in 21st place.

First full season at Derby County

Any optimism that Derby County supporters had for a full campaign under Wayne Rooney was quickly curtailed as the EFL imposed sanction after sanction on the club. This led to numerous administrative bodies being brought in and multiple legal battles.

Meanwhile, Rooney had to motivate the squad to produce results. Numerous players left the club during this phase. Notably, top players like Kamil Jozwiak, Florian Jozefzoon, and Jordon Ibe found ways out of the club. Those who stuck around were not paid as the job seemingly got harder each passing week.

Much was made that due to the sanctions, Rooney could not make any signings of worth as the club was limited to free transfers yet even had that luxury taken away before too long. Given the multitude of challenges, Rooney found a way to cultivate a decent standard.


He managed to coax the best out of Tom Lawrence, Ravel Morrison, and others. 14 wins in the league would have been enough to secure safety normally. However, the 21-point deduction saw the club drop to League One. Rooney resigned from his position as manager, after giving his all to the team has seen the club through a pandemic and a hostile administration process. He won a total of 24 games of the 81 he managed with the club throughout the troubled era.

Joining D.C. United

Three weeks after leaving Derby, D.C. United announced that he would rejoin the club as their manager as they had sacked Hernan Losada after poor results. While this D.C. team was not blessed with the greatest MLS players of all-time, better results were expected, hence Rooney’s appointment. He won his first game in charge of the club as Audi Field was treated to a last-gasp smash-and-grab as two injury-time goals secured a debut triumph.

The victory parade was short-lived, however, as Rooney would go on to win just one more match in the remaining 13 MLS fixtures. D.C. United finished rock-bottom of the conference and overall table. This hasn’t exactly had other former clubs Everton or Manchester United chomping at the bit to have him manage there.

How is he doing with D.C. United this season?

Rooney’s record at D.C. United from the prior season wasn’t great. However, he scored 23 goals in 48 games for the club as a player, and with his iconic status in world football, he was afforded more time.

Eight games in, he’s won two, drawn two, and lost four. It’s not the most inspiring form, especially when he’s been given notable additions like Mateusz Klich, Lewis O’Brien, and Pedro Santos. Christian Benteke has found the net three times already, which is better than his solitary goal in 2022.

The jury remains out, however. Rooney’s last victory was an unconvincing 1-0 win against fellow strugglers, CF Montreal. In said game, D.C. still managed to have less of the ball and produce fewer shots than their opponent. Overall, he’s only a few years into management and has coached clubs at the lower ebbs of their respective divisions. He’s not had the brightest start but could improve with time.

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