WAYNE ROONEY today agreed a sensational return to English football by joining Derby County from DC United on an 18-month deal starting in January.
The record-breaking former Manchester United and England star will start playing for the Championship side from the new year, with the long-term aim of becoming a coach.
Rooney, 33, has been convinced to move back to the UK by wife Coleen, who wants their four boys to grow up closer their home in Cheshire.
But he will stay at the MLS side for the rest of their season.
Rooney said: “I am very excited about the opportunity that Derby County have provided me with.
“I am looking forward to joining Phillip Cocu, his coaching staff and the first-team squad from the start of January.
“I am sure I can make a big contribution and can’t wait to meet everyone, especially the supporters.
“I am equally excited to begin my coaching career at Derby County working with both the first team and Academy.
“I must also take this opportunity to thank DC United, their owners, executives and supporters who have been superb to work with.
“I want them to know that I will give my all in support of our push for the play-offs.”
Ambitious Derby chairman Mel Morris said: “We are absolutely delighted to announce that Wayne Rooney will be joining Derby County.
“This is clearly an exciting signing for us, and Wayne’s presence will further enhance the club’s standing and its ability to perform both on and off the pitch.
“To have Wayne Rooney as a player, and equally as an aspiring coach, is incredible and I can only imagine the buzz this will generate amongst our supporters at home and internationally.”
Burnley boss Sean Dyche was also keen to bring Rooney home and wanted to offer Premier League football close to the family’s Merseyside roots.
Rooney’s wife Coleen wanted to return to the UK and their native North West after missing her family and friends while living in Bethesda, Maryland, on the outskirts of Washington.
The couple have four kids, Kai, nine, Klay, six, Kit, three, and Cass, who was born in February last year — and the move would mean they can move back to a UK school ahead of the new term.
How Derby could line-up if Wayne Rooney joins them this summerRooney secretly flew home to the UK last month for a “physical and mental break” missing DC’s 2-0 defeat to Atlanta, as well as their 8-1 friendly defeat to Marseille.
The 33-year-old was a marquee signing for DC United and moved to America last June, on a contract that runs until the end of next season.
He has been a big hit after scoring 23 times in 42 appearances, but Derby have come in with an offer to match his £85,000-a-week wages.
He has been a poster boy for soccer in the States, just as David Beckham was a decade ago.
Rams owner Mel Morris wanted Rooney as a player-coach after hiring Phillip Cocu to replace Frank Lampard.
The ex-Everton and Old Trafford ace has previously spoken of his management ambitions.
He said: “I’m taking the steps to get my badges completed and when I finish playing I’ll see what opportunities come up.
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“There’s already offers which have been made, but at the minute I’m still a player and I want to enjoy playing, and then I’ll see which offers are right when I do finish.”
When quizzed whether those offers were from England or the US, he replied: “Yeah, both.
“There’s an opportunity for me to go into management straight away and when I do hang my boots up, that decision will be made on what the ambition of the club is first of all, and what my ambitions are and what’s right for both myself and that particular team.”
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