What can Derby County expect from Wayne Rooney? Former MLS player Liam Ridgewell explains how striker’s role has changed in United States

6 Aug

Wayne Rooney is set to seal a surprise move to Derby County – but the Rams would be getting a different player to the one who left Everton last summer.

Derby owner Mel Morris has confirmed to talkSPORT he is in talks with Rooney over a player-coach role at the Championship side.

The former England, Manchester United and Everton striker is keen to return home after one-and-a-half seasons with Major League Soccer’s DC United.

England’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney is coming home
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The 33-year-old has starred in the United States, scoring 25 goals and assisting 13 in 46 appearances and also helping DC to last season’s MLS play-offs.

But former MLS player Liam Ridgewell says England’s record goalscorer has taken on a different role since moving to DC.

Ridgewell, who spent five seasons with Portland Timbers and recently signed for League One side Southend United, says signing Rooney would be a ‘massive coup’ for Derby – but he is no longer the striker who scored over 250 goals for Manchester United.

Asked if swapping MLS football for the Championship is a step up or step down for Rooney, the former Premier League defender told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast: “That depends on the games you’re playing out in America.

“Some games are top end Championship when you’ve got the big crowds and you’re playing against Zlatan Ibrahimovic at LA Galaxy.

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“Then you get some other games where you’re not getting the big crowds, because the game is still getting big over there.

“I think the Championship be a great level for him and one he’ll do very well in; he’ll be able to show his qualities.

“He’s been scoring some worldies for DC United, but also speaking to some of the boys out there, he’s still demanding of the other players, making sure the team ticks and still doing his usual stuff.

Rooney has been brilliant for DC United but it is understood he wants to return to England
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“He’s been playing a slightly different role out there. He’s taken a deeper role, trying to mix up the play and work everybody in.

“But he’s still a quality act and it would be a massive coup for Derby to get him if they did.

He’s kept himself fit over there and he can still do a job if they could put him in the number ten role, to get on the ball and make things happen.”

Listen back to Liam Ridgewell on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast IN FULL above

Rangers transfer news: Liam Ridgewell open to offers as talkSPORT host Jim White reveals Gers interest

18 Jul

Liam Ridgewell is open to all offers which may come his way amid interest from Scottish giants Rangers.

Ridgewell, the former Aston Villa and Birmingham defender, is currently a free agent having left Hull at the end of last season after just six months at the KCOM Stadium.

His recent career has taken in loan spells with Wigan and Brighton while on the books of American side Portland Timbers, with whom the 34-year-old won the MLS Cup in 2015.

Ridgewell is on the lookout for a new club ahead of the 2019/20 season
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The former England youth international joined talkSPORT on Thursday to discuss his future, with Ridgewell intending to continue playing rather than hanging up his boots despite his age.

And mid-morning host Jim White revealed while speaking to Ridgewell that Rangers are keen on the centre-back, having heard from sources of his that Steven Gerrard has him on his radar.

“One or two people have told me,” Jim said, “I’ve heard from a couple of sources that Gerrard and Rangers would be interested in you.

“Is that something you’d entertain at this stage of your career?”

And Ridgewell replied: “I’d entertain anything that comes my way.

“I’m open to listening to offers and speaking [to clubs], and trying to find out where the club is going and what their ambitions are, and whether they line up with myself.

“That’s the main thing for me, being 34; I want to go into management, I want to go into coaching, so I want to try and make sure I’m stepping to a place where I can help myself along with that.”

Beginning his career at Aston Villa, Ridgewell made just shy of 100 appearances before transferring to their local rivals Birmingham in 2007.

He spent five years with Blues, and played the full 90 minutes when they famously beat Arsenal in the 2011 League Cup final.

A three-year spell with West Brom followed before Ridgewell switched to MLS, and he remains on the lookout for a new club heading into the new season.