Former Everton forward Wayne Rooney has said that he was effectively forced to leave the Toffees this summer after the club made it clear to him that he was no longer needed at Goodison Park.
Rooney returned to his boyhood club last season after 13 years at Manchester United where he won five Premier League titles and a Champions League winners medal.
The ex-England captain scored 10 goals in 31 games in his first season back at Everton before he was told by the club that his services were no longer required.
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 12, 2018
“Obviously at Manchester United that [playing] wasn’t happening as much as I would have liked and I quite easily could have stayed there with two years left on my contract and picked up the wages and been happy with that and that’s it,” Rooney told by ESPN ahead of his D.C. United debut against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.
“But I wanted to play, went back to Everton and had a year there, then as I’ve said before, Everton made it clear towards the end of the season that they’d be happy for me to leave.
“For whatever reason, I still don’t know. I felt I was doing okay, I was top goal scorer [despite] playing most of the season from midfield.
“But that’s football. And that gave me a decision to make, and I made this decision.”
“I said to Everton, ‘Listen, I’m not a kid and if this [leaving the club] is what you want, tell me. If you want me to stay, tell me’ and we talked about it.
“So, this option became available as well as a few different ones, and I just felt this was the right one.”
Rooney insists that he has not moved to the MLS to wind down his career and that he has already started to implement his own standards at the struggling Washington club.
“I’m not here to see out the last few years of my career, I’m here to compete, I’m here to win and that’s the way I’ve always played and will always play,” he said at his unveiling.
“Even on the training pitch yesterday, there were a few of the academy players and I had a go at them for not running as hard as they should have. That’s on my first day.
“I’ve always set high targets. I demand a lot of myself and expect that from teammates as well. I have to adapt to however the club is run, and embrace it. The club has got great history. It’s been tough over the past few years and the club doesn’t need to look back at that history, it needs to create more history.
“We have to improve, but there’s talent in the team; maybe [with] some guidance on and off the pitch. It’s a new challenge, new culture, new league to play in, so I’m excited. I can’t wait to get started.”