Former England captain Wayne Rooney, who helped revitalise one of Major League Soccer’s original superpowers when he joined D.C. United last year, still feels he possesses the quality to compete in the Premier League.
The 33-year-old former Manchester United and Everton captain, speaking in an interview with CNN World Sport released on Tuesday, said he was not a fading force and he could still compete against some of the world’s best players.
“If I’m being honest, quality wise I can still play in the Premier League. I know that, I’ve always been a confident person, so I have high expectations of myself,” said Rooney.
“I came here expecting to do well, I think there was a surprise from people who had their opinions, which is fair enough, but I never doubted myself.”
Rooney joined D.C. United last July and helped them to a huge midseason turnaround, scoring 12 goals and adding seven assists in 20 appearances as United went from last place to a playoff berth. He was named a finalist for MLS’ Most Valuable Player Award.
It was a remarkable turnaround for a club that won three-of-the-first-four MLS Cups after the league launched in 1996 but had fallen on tough times in recent years.
Rooney and United open the MLS season on March 3 against defending champions Atlanta United (3 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPNDP).