Wayne Rooney says USA 'could take Gareth Southgate's men by surprise

Wayne Rooney tells England that USA ‘will have a go’ in Qatar and could take Gareth Southgate’s men by surprise in the World Cup tie – as DC United’s coach insists the MLS standard is ‘significantly higher than the Championship’

  • Wayne Rooney has played and coached in MLS and the English Championship
  • He credited the Americans style of play to improvements in MLS as a league
  • ‘England need to be at it right from the start or they may get a shock,’ he said
  • USA need to win after being held to a 1-1 tie by Wales in its first World Cup game 
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  • Click here for the latest World Cup 2022 news, fixtures, live action and results

English soccer legend and D.C United coach Wayne Rooney believes the United States have a chance to shock England after seeing how both teams played in the World Cup’s opening games.

‘In the first half against Wales, USA were excellent. They moved the ball quickly, they were aggressive and had a lot of energy in their game,’ Rooney said in The Times of the USA’s game against Wales.

‘I think here the Americans’ approach will be similar.’

D.C. United coach Wayne Rooney thinks USA will make it hard for England at the World Cup

‘They will be on the front foot and have a go at taking the game to England and it will be a completely different challenge from the one England faced against Iran. A tough game.’

 ‘England need to be at it, right from the start of the match, or they may get a shock.’

Rooney went on to name some of the best players on the American side such as Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah, Brenden Aaronson, and Tyler Adams.

He also mentioned that there are several very good MLS players in the U.S. squad and that though it is not at the level of the English Premier League, the increase in quality of America’s domestic league has played a large part in how the team is now playing. 

‘The MLS may not be the Premier League, but it is a level significantly higher than the Championship.’ Rooney said.

‘Every team there tries to press high and play and it is a league where the technical level is getting better and better, where there are a lot of South American players and South American coaches.

USA players celebrate Timothy Weah’s goal against Wales in the to start the World Cup

Rooney celebrates after scoring a goal against Portland Timbers, while playing with D.C United

‘When Gregg Berhalter was there, in charge of Columbus Crew, he had his full backs coming inside and the team trying to get on the ball and take the initiative and he does the same with his USA side.’

Aside from his historic place in the annals of the sport, Rooney’s resume makes him more qualified than most people to make such a claim as to say that MLS plays at a higher level than the championship.

Along with managing in both leagues during his career Rooney has also graced the field with his presence in both leagues.

Rooney looks on as he watches his team play while managing Derby County in England

Derby County’s Rooney (left) and Birmingham City’s Jude Bellingham – now an England starter – battle for the ball during a Championship game back in 2020

During his time as a player with D.C United Rooney scored 23 goals in 48 appearances.

He also served as a player coach after first arriving at Derby County, where he scored eight goals in 30 appearances, before focusing solely on management.

‘Against England you won’t see them sitting back and booting the ball long — they will, I am 100 per cent sure, try to play good football and have a go,’ Rooney said. 

‘It could take England by surprise if England underestimate them or the quality of their players.’

England’s players celebrate one of the multiple goals they scored against Iran to open the World Cup with a 6-2 victory

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