Andy Dawson: Rooney is off to the USA… but what’s his motivation?

Rumour has it the former England captain is heading to the MLS. Andy Dawson considers the attractions of the US for waning stars...

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We could be waving goodbye to Wayne Rooney soon as the former England captain heads to the USA for a new chapter in his life with DC United.

The obvious conclusion to draw is that the portly Everton star might be making the move solely for the USA’s outstanding selection of fast food restaurants, high-calorie meals served in huge portions and unrivalled selection of sauces and gravies.

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But that would be an offensive assumption and a lazy one, based on the fact that Wayne doesn’t look quite as lean as some other players. (But he’s definitely considered it, right?)

It’s an ideal opportunity to look at some of the other stars of the game who have paved the way for Wazza’s forthcoming MLS odyssey.

DAVID BECKHAM

One of the pioneers of the modern era of the MLS, Becks saw an opportunity to fanny about in the Los Angeles heat as preferable to seeing out his playing days at somewhere proper, like Burnley or, even worse, Arsenal.

David Beckham claps the crowd upon his return to the LA Galaxy side from injury against the Columbus Crew at the Home Depot Stadium in Carson, Los Angeles on September 11, 2010. The Galaxy went on to win 3-1. A six-month injury absence has David Beckham champing at the bit to get back on the pitch and provide a boost for his Los Angeles Galaxy teammates – and perhaps eventually again for England. The 35-year-old former England captain has been sidelined since March 14, when he tore his left achilles tendon while playing on loan for AC Milan. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Like his array of tattoos, the USA clearly got under his skin, so much so that he is in the process of setting up a franchise in Miami – a bit like when you spend a fortnight in Disney World and decide you’re going to buy a timeshare condo so that you can go back three times a year. Except with an entire football team instead of a condo.

Speculation about an addiction to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches may or may not have played some part in Beckham’s recent decision-making.

JERMAIN DEFOE

After leaving Tottenham in 2014, Defoe decided that the USA was his preferred destination, but somehow, somewhere, confusion set in and he found himself playing in the MLS, but in Canada instead.

Whether it was a genuine mistake or a cruel trick was played on him, the move didn’t work and the England star was so desperate to return home that he accepted a move to the massive burning bin on wheels that was Sunderland.

That, or the committed vegan found himself unable to deal with the fact that maple syrup is part of every meal in Canada, assuming that it’s got meat in it – I don’t know, I’m not Jamie Oliver.

STEVEN GERRARD AND FRANK LAMPARD

With a mere 64 appearances for LA Galaxy and New York City between them, this legendary duo of England midfielders both announced their MLS departure at the same time.

Rumour has it that they fled in disgust after being offered Sweet Sue’s Whole Chicken in a Can at a sponsor’s dinner in autumn 2016…

ROBBIE KEANE

Scored 83 goals in 125 MLS appearances in his 30s, which probably speaks more about the quality of the league than the quality of Keane.

Sales of ‘spray cheese’ in the LA area reportedly increased dramatically in Keane’s final two years as a Galaxy player, which may or may not be linked to his falling goal tally.

DAVID VILLA

After a medal-laden career with Barcelona, the one who was a bit like David Silva but not quite as good decided that America would be where he would see out his days as a top player, notching an incredible 66 goals in 100 appearances for New York City.

Fans reported that shortly after his arrival, a van load of ‘tater tots’ would be delivered to the stadium on match days. Coincidence? We can only speculate…

CARSON, CA – MARCH 30: Zlatan Ibrahimovic #9 of the Los Angeles Galaxy answers questions from the media as Dan Beckerman, President and CEO of AEG listens during a press conference at StubHub Center on March 30, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVICH

He’d probably describe himself as one of the greatest men who has ever lived but after a career spent wandering between the world’s toughest leagues, the mercurial Swede is now winding down in the MLS, and has already scored three goals in his first six LA Galaxy matches.

But what can we glean from the fact that a canned spinach factory has opened less than half a mile from the Galaxy training ground, cans that have got a picture of Popeye on the label and everything?

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