LODNON - Wayne Rooney has made it clear the decision to leave Everton was not down to him and insisted he has not gone to America to retire.
The former England captain was presented to the media by DC United on Monday and his new career will officially begin on July 14 when the MLS side open their new stadium with a game against Vancouver Whitecaps. The Mayor of Washington DC, Muriel Bowser, declared July 2 Wayne Rooney day to mark the Liverpudlian’s arrival in the city.
It is a far cry from what Rooney had expected in the spring. He still had 12 months remaining on his contract at the Goodison Park club and had set his sights on triggering an option for a further 12 months.
Rooney returned to his boyhood club last July and finished the season as Everton’s leading scorer but major shareholder Farhad Moshiri was a key factor in the decision to let him move on and there is no doubt that leaving was not a decision he personally wanted to consider.
"Everton are the club I grew up supporting. I was delighted to go back last summer but you never know what is around the corner," said Rooney. "I’m sure there are questions about why I left and the people who want to know can ask Everton and let them answer."
Rooney, who has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with DC United, does not see the move as an easy option. His new club are struggling in the Eastern Conference but his ambition is to be successful in the MLS.
"I’m not here to see out the last few years of my career, I’m here to compete and to win," he said. "Yesterday I had a go at some of the academy players for not running hard - I always set high targets and I demand that of myself and my teammates."