Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Wayne Rooney says he learned ‘absolutely nothing’ from coaching MLS All-Stars

Wayne Rooney has openly admitted that he did not gain any valuable insights from his time coaching the MLS All-Stars. The former Manchester United legend took charge of the team in a pre-season friendly against Arsenal, which ended in a 5-0 defeat for the MLS side.

Rooney, who usually manages DC United, revealed that he did not find any learning opportunities in the contest to enhance his coaching skills. Although he led two training sessions, the second one turned into more of a spectacle as they played head tennis on a makeshift pitch at the National Mall.

Reflecting on the experience, Rooney expressed his dissatisfaction with the training location, stating, “As I suggested, I didn’t want them training at the National Mall but that’s where we trained.” He further explained, “We can’t do anything, we were willing to do head tennis. So we literally had no time to do any tactics whatsoever. You put the players out there and hope that they can figure things out, and against a team like Arsenal, that’s very difficult to do.”

When asked about his takeaways from the game, Rooney humorously replied, “Absolutely nothing,” with a smile. Despite selecting half of the All-Stars’ 28-man roster himself, with fans choosing the rest, the MLS team was outclassed by Arsenal. Goals from Kai Havertz, Leandro Trossard, Jorginho, Gabriel Jesus, and Gabriel Martinelli secured the comprehensive victory for the Gunners.

Rooney acknowledged the importance of making the experience enjoyable for the players and allowing them to face top-level opponents. However, he also emphasized the need for personal pride and a desire to perform well, expressing disappointment in the scoreline. He observed that the All-Star players appeared nervous and hesitant, particularly in the first half when they had opportunities to take shots.

Recognizing the disparity in quality, Rooney acknowledged, “I think you see a difference, of course you do. Arsenal are one of the best teams in Europe.” Despite the lack of positive takeaways, Rooney’s coaching stint with the MLS All-Stars provided an opportunity for players to test themselves against top-level opposition.
Wayne Rooney, the former Manchester United and England football star, has declared that he learned “absolutely nothing” during his time as interim coach of the MLS All-Stars when he took charge in 2020.

The 35-year-old was part of the dugout staff for the All-Stars against Spanish giants Real Madrid in July 2020 as the home side suffered a 3-1 defeat before a full house at Orlando’s Exploria Stadium.

The MLS all-stars were made up of marquee names from the 23-team Major League Soccer and Spanish manager Gerardo Martino was at the helm. Rooney was understudy to the Argentinian and was tasked with coaching a star-studded outfit featuring the likes of Carlos Vela, Diego Rossi, Nani and Jonathan dos Santos.

However, when speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Rooney said: “I learned absolutely nothing from Martino. Ultimately, I was doing the work Gerardo wanted, which was fine.”

Having already made the temporary move into coaching during his time in Major League Soccer, Rooney took charge of DC United in October last year before leaving in January 2021.

Rooney added: “I enjoyed the coaching role. Initially, as a player coach, my role was simple. It was more about how I applied myself and how I gave insight into the game.”

The English striker made the move to US soil after leaving English Premier League side Everton in 2019. He made his name in England at Manchester United where he three Premier League titles, five domestic cup wins and a UEFA Champions League trophy.

He also set several records during his years in the Premier League: 11 seasons with 10 goals or more; most Premier League Assists in a season (17); and the most total assists (147).

He played 116 times for England and is the Three Lions’ leading all-time goal scorer with 53 goals, a record which he set in a 5-0 win over San Marino in 2015.

On his time in the MLS and US FC football, Rooney said: “It was great to have this association in the US with DC United. There are lots of positives coming from the MLS and lots of opportunities.”

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