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 Premier League club could target DC United coach Wayne Rooney, who has deep ties to the Toffees.

Rooney’s name came up frequently in English circles before and after Frank Lampard was sacked last week, and Rooney has said he would like to coach in the Premier League one day. On Monday, however, he said Everton had never approached him.

“It’s a group that I grew up supporting and loving,” he said. “They went through a very difficult time in the club’s history, and they felt they had to change. Sean Dyche is very experienced. It will usually be an experienced manager. “

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Dyche, who was sacked by Burnley last spring after a 10-year spell, signed a 2½-year contract with Everton, who are 19th in the 20-team league and in danger of 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 superstardom, then returned to Everton in 2017 A year later, he signed with DC United as a player for 1½ seasons.

Rooney’s coaching contract with DC United is only guaranteed through this season – he was hired last summer – and includes a club option for 2024.

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“It’s what I think is right,” he said of the temporary agreement. “There are questions that I want to know the answers to from the owners: Which players can we bring and make sure that I have what I want to build the team?”

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Asked if he had got what he wanted this season, Rooney said: “You always want more. The players we brought in, I’m happy. I am confident that we will have a good time, and hopefully we will get one or two players early [the transfer window closes this spring]. If not, we can see where we are in the middle of the season,” when the summer window opens.

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

Klich’s approach

Mateusz Klich, United’s winter signing from Premier League club Leeds, is set 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 teammates in Washington but needed to return to Europe as the visa process unfolded.

Klich is scheduled 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 as he awaits the decision of the visa process.

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Programs for Coachella matches

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 the full 75 minutes against Charlotte, then put in the reserves, who will play all 45 against the Whitecaps.

Several players are absent, including four center backs: Steven Birnbaum (illness), Derrick Williams (hip), Donovan Pines (recovering from hernia surgery) and Brendan Hines-Ike (foot surgery). Williams, a projected player acquired from the Los Angeles Galaxy in the offseason, has been out for a few weeks, Rooney said.

On Wednesday, Matai Akinmboni, 16, will partner in central defense with Andy Najar, right back and winger.

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

Midfielder Victor Palsson, who can play in the middle, is a week back from a hamstring injury.

The player’s position is not resolved

Alex Bono, one of the three freshmen on the roster, is slated to start the Charlotte tournament, Rooney said. Tyler Miller – who, like Bono, signed a free agent contract this winter – started the 3-2 loss to the Galaxy last week in Carson, Calif.

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Luis Zamudio, who played for Loudoun United in the second division last year, is set to start against Vancouver.

“I want them all to have a good time in the first two or three games so I can see them well and then make a decision” about who starts the season opener on February 25 against Toronto FC, Rooney said. “They’re all really trained. They’re pushing themselves, so that’s what I like.

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

“You’re talking to the press,” Rooney said. “He has been training well, but I know there are 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 think it’s important that we have another coach who knows the league, and obviously has experience as a head coach,” Rooney said. “I talked to him several times this winter, and he seems like a great fit.” …

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

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

Ignacio “Nacho” Alem, a 16-year-old attacker from the youth academy, is also in camp and can become a homegrown signing target this year.


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