Wayne Rooney says Everton never reached out about coaching job


PALM DESERT, Calif. – Everton’s hiring of Sean Dyche as coach on Monday ended speculation that the English club could challenge D.C. United coach Wayne Rooney, who has a deep relationship with Toffees.

Rooney’s name has been on the rise among English fans before and after Frank Lampard’s sacking last week, and Rooney has said he wants to coach in the Premier League one day. On Monday, however, he said he had not been approached by Everton.

“It’s the team I grew up supporting and loving,” he said. “They are going through a difficult time in the history of the club, and they have decided to change. Sean Dyche has a lot of experience. He will be a smart manager.”

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Dyche, who was released by Burnley last spring after a 10-year spell, has signed a 2½-year deal with Everton, who is 19th in the 20-team league relegation for the first time since 1954.

Rooney joined Everton’s youth academy at 9 and signed a pro contract at 16. He played two seasons for the first team before moving to Manchester United, where he reached the superstardom, then returned to Everton in 2017. A year later, he signed with DC United as a player for 1½ seasons.

Rooney’s current coaching contract with DC United – he took the job last summer – and has a club option for 2024.

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“That’s what I thought was right,” he said of the short-term contract. “There are questions I want to see answers from the owners: What players can we bring in and make sure I have what I want to build the team?”

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Asked if he got what he wanted this offseason, Rooney said: “You always want more. The players we’ve brought in, I’m happy. I hope we get it.” We’re having a good season, and hopefully we’ll get one or two players up front. [the transfer window closes this spring]. If not, we can see where we are in midseason,” when the summer window opens.

He added, “We are looking, but with the budget the way it is, we are looking for the right player in the right position.”

The arrival of Klich

Mateusz Klich, United’s winter signing from Premier League club Leeds, is expected to receive his work visa and join the club this week, Rooney said.

Klich, a striker, signed with United on January 12 and met his new team-mates in Washington but had to return to Europe due to the visa process.

Klich is expected to make his preseason debut next Monday against MLS Cup champion Los Angeles FC at the Coachella Valley Invitational in Indio, Calif., Rooney said. Rooney added that Klich has continued to work with Leeds fitness coaches while he waits for the visa process to be resolved.

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Planning for the Coachella games

United will open the Coachella tournament on Wednesday with a 90-minute game against Charlotte FC and a 45-minute game against Vancouver.

Rooney said he will play 75 minutes against Charlotte, then put on the bench, and then play all 45 against the Whitecaps.

Several players are absent, including four center backs: Steven Birnbaum (illness), Derrick Williams (thigh), Donovan Pines (recovery from hernia surgery) and Brendan Hines-Ike (foot surgery). . Williams, a projected starter acquired from the Los Angeles Galaxy in the offseason, is out for several weeks, Rooney said.

On Wednesday, Matai Akinmboni, 16, will join central defense with Andy Najar, a full-back and winger.

Najar, who is battling new Brazilian Ruan for the starting job at right-back, has been “fantastic in preseason,” Rooney said.

Midfielder Victor Palsson, who can play at centre-back, is a week away from returning from a hamstring injury.

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Alex Bono, one of three freshman guards on the roster, is expected to start the Charlotte game, Rooney said. Tyler Miller – who, like Bono, signed a free agent contract this winter – started in a 3-2 win over the Galaxy last week in Carson, Calif.

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Luis Zamudio, who played for Loudoun United last year, started against Vancouver.

“I want them all to have a good time in the first two or three games so I can get a feel for them and then make a decision” about who will start the season opener Feb. 25 against Toronto FC, Rooney said. “They all studied well. They push each other, so that’s what I like.

Midfielder Ravel Morrison, who followed Rooney to United from Derby County last summer, could be on his way out.

“He’s talking to the team,” Rooney said. “He trained well, but I know there will be some conversations about what we do in the future.” …

Former Vancouver coach Carl Robinson is close to signing a contract to join the staff as an assistant, Rooney said.

“I thought it was important that we have another coach who knows the league, and he obviously has experience as a coach,” Rooney said. “I’ve talked to him many times this winter, and he seems to be right.” …

Midfielder Alex Nagy, a draft pick last winter who signed with Loudoun United this month, is training with the first team and could get an MLS contract. …

Midfielder Aidan Rocha, a second-round pick from Georgetown, will be in camp. …

Ignacio “Nacho” Alem, a 16-year-old attacker from the youth academy, is still in camp and could be a homegrown signing this year.


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