D.C. United's Wayne Rooney not interested in winter loan back to Europe
D.C. United striker Wayne Rooney isn't interested in a return to Europe on loan this winter, saying he's committed to his new team and that playing for another side would only serve as a distraction from his latest project.
Rooney has been a revelation for D.C. since joining the club from Everton in mid-summer, helping to lift the team from the bottom of the Eastern Conference table into the playoffs.
United have picked up 39 points and won 12 times since Rooney's arrival, with the former Manchester United and England captain scoring 12 goals in the process, to move them into fifth place ahead of the regular-season finale against the Chicago Fire on Sunday.
However, despite his success in the U.S., Rooney, who signed a multi-year deal with D.C., said he is not considering a return to Europe on loan in the January window or unretiring from international football should England boss Gareth Southgate make the call.
Rooney told ESPN FC in an exclusive interview: "No. I think I committed myself to D.C. And that's why I'm going to give everything to D.C. In the offseason I'll stay here for a lot of that time with my children in school. I'll go back during Christmas to see some family and friends.
"I'm committed to D.C. and I don't think it'd be right for me to fly back and forth to play on loan with another team.
"I think [England] are doing fantastic. It was the right time for me to retire with the group of young players. It was the right time to let them come in and flourish in the team. I have no regrets over it.
"I think the players have stood up and done really well. Hopefully they can go one step further in the next international tournament and get to a final."
Some pundits were skeptical about Rooney's chances of finding success in MLS after a disappointing single season with Everton in the Premier League, but the 33-year-old has proven those doubters wrong in his short time in the U.S.
"I didn't think too much about [what people say]," Rooney said. "People see what you put in on the football pitch, there's no hiding place. If you come with the right attitude then people will see that, and if you don't then they'll see that.
"It's down to the player, either myself or others to have the right attitude and show which I've done my whole career. There's games when you might not be at your best, but you keep working hard for the team -- it's what I've always done and will continue to do."
That attitude has had an obvious effect on his teammates as well, with Rooney constantly trying to impress his work ethic and standards on the guys around him right from his first match.
"I think [we tried] to go on a bit of a run of winning games and bringing confidence back to the team," Rooney said. "Trying to build some momentum, mainly going into next season. I know it would be difficult to make the playoffs but we went on a great run with confidence and belief in ourselves.
"We could feel the playoffs were getting closer and we need to try to kick on. We could finish fourth and could get a home tie in the first round of the playoffs which could be a difference for us."