Wayne Rooney Hired as Birmingham Manager After D.C. United Exit

Wayne Rooney with D.C. United in 2018
Wayne Rooney with D.C. United in 2018. Photo by Tony Quinn/ISI/REX/Shutterstock (9795680dw)

Wayne Rooney wasn’t unemployed for too long after agreeing to a mutual contract termination with MLS side D.C. United last week. Rooney returned to his native England, where he took over as a manager of Birmingham City FC.

Birmingham confirmed Rooney’s hiring on Wednesday, revealing that former England international inked a three-and-a-half-year deal. The club, which lists NFL legend Tom Brady as one of its minority owners, is currently sixth in the Championship.

“I have been building my managerial career, putting myself in challenging environments, to get me ready for this opportunity,” Rooney said in a statement released by the club. “It’s a project that gives me a sense of purpose, and I can’t wait to get started.”

Rooney is bringing in several of his former teammates with him to Birmingham. His coaching staff will include ex-Manchester United defender John O’Shea and former Arsenal and Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole, with whom he played together with England’s national team.

After finishing his illustrious playing career, Rooney started his managerial career with Championship club Derby County midway through the 2020–21 season. He helped the club avoid relegation by the end of the campaign but decided to step down after failing to repeat the feat in 2021-22, in which Derby got relegated to League One.

Rooney’s next stop was MLS, where he took over D.C. United. He spent less than two seasons with the club, compiling a 14-14-25 record. The 37-year-old Rooney left the club after failing to make the playoffs in 2023.