Rooney 'fully focused' on winning MLS Cup with D.C. before making Derby move

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The forward's stay in Washington will prove short-lived after he decided to return to England with Derby, but he wants silverware first

Wayne Rooney is desperate to sign off his American adventure with silverware after deciding to cut short his stay at D.C. United

The former Manchester United striker will leave two years earlier than planned to join English second-tier side Derby County in January. 

Rooney has been a standout performer in MLS, an import who has justified the excitement that heralded his arrival, helping to turn D.C. from also-rans to playoff contenders. 

His former England teammate David Beckham won the MLS Cup twice with the Los Angeles Galaxy, and Rooney would love to achieve the feat just once. 

"They've been fantastic to me," Rooney said of his current club. "We're in a good position in the league – there's nine games left of the season." 

Speaking in Derby on Tuesday, Rooney stressed he had no thoughts about cutting his ties with D.C. abruptly. 

"I think it'd be disrespectful to them if I didn't finish the season and try to help get us into a playoff spot and try to win a trophy," Rooney added. 

"That was always the plan, then to come here in January." 

D.C. has been in a slump, winning just one of the club’s past seven games, to raise questions about whether the side can sustain the push to reach the post-season. 

In a statement, however, Rooney underlined his commitment to that challenge by saying: "I remain fully focused on giving my all for the team for the rest of this season and repaying the support shown by the Black-and-Red faithful by hopefully delivering an MLS Cup to Audi Field." 

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Reports have already suggested that United are lining up a replacement in the form of Arsenal's Mesut Ozil next year in hopes of having another star man to lean on.  

D.C. remains in a strong position heading into the closing run of the season, with the club sitting fourth in the Eastern Conference and the top seven teams in the conference earning a place in the MLS playoffs.  

But the job is far from done, with a gap of just seven points between United and Orlando City, which currently sits ninth in the table.