Rooney struggles in MLS should give Tom Brady’s Birmingham reasons to worry

Former D.C. United head coach Wayne Rooney is expected to return to English management, with formal talks underway with Tom Brady’s Birmingham City over the vacant role at St Andrew’s. Rooney mutually agreed to terminate his D.C. United contract after the franchise failed to reach the MLS postseason.

“It’s the right time. I’ve done everything I can to get this club into the playoffs,” Rooney said. “It’s not been a single thing which has happened. It’s about timing in your career. I’ve really enjoyed my time here. I’ve had a lot of great help from the owners… I just feel like it’s the right time for me to back to England, first to obviously see my family. I haven’t seen them for a long time.”

D.C. United chief executive and co-chairman Jason Levien said: “We have spoken with Wayne and agreed it is best for us to part ways at this time. This decision creates the avenue for our next general manager to have the full opportunity to impart a new philosophy and structure onto our sporting operations, which begins with the critical identification of a head coach who will best align with this. We are grateful to Wayne Rooney for all he has done for our club and for soccer in the nation’s capital, first as a DC United player and captain and most recently as our coach.”

The Manchester United and England legend is still in the States but talks over a swift return to management have begun, with Birmingham City hoping to find a quick resolution after sacking John Eustace. Birmingham’s decision to sack Eustace comes despite the team sitting sixth in the second tier of English football.

The decision to look into the possibility of Rooney taking over at Birmingham comes despite struggles in his 53 games in charge of D.C. United. The Daily Express Sport highlights three factors that should cause concern for Brady and Co at Birmingham City ahead of Rooney’s potential arrival. 


Rooney came into his job at D.C. United off the back of a near-relegation Great Escape with Derby County. Derby had to deal with a 21-point deduction and finished just seven points off safety in the 21/22 season. They would have been safe had they not been penalized. However, after arriving at D.C. United, Rooney went on to win just 14 games, while drawing 13 and losing 26, giving him just a 35.8 percent win record.

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No postseason appearances

In the season-and-a-half spell at D.C. United, Rooney failed to guide the franchise to the postseason. D.C. United finished bottom of the Eastern Conference last season. Rooney did edge them closer to the playoffs this time round, but ultimately came up short.

The Championship playoff final is touted as the most lucrative game in football. Birmingham, who have spent over a decade out of the Premier League, are desperate to get back but Rooney has so far failed to lead his teams to the position they need to be in the table. 

Big-name signings struggle to make a splash

Rooney signed off on a number of high-profile signings from D.C. United. Names familiar over in England’s top flight. The likes of ex-Liverpool and Aston Villa striker, Christian Benteke, Mateusz Klich, Lewis O’Brien, and Ravel Morrison all joined the team.

The latter, Morrison, was once regarded as British football’s next big thing but ultimately lost his way after an electric start to life at West Ham after being let go by Rooney’s former club, Manchester United. Benteke offered the best return out of the signings, scoring 14 MLS goals but the supporting cast was poor for the ex-Belgium international.

Ultimately, Rooney was unable to convert D.C. United’s spending into results. If Birmingham City back him in the transfer market, they’ll need things to be different in the Championship. 

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