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Rooney: Acosta 'one of the best I’ve played with'

1:55 AM GMT+8 02/02/2019
Wayne Rooney Luciano Acosta DC United
The former Manchester United man has backed his D.C. United team-mate to bounce back after a move to Paris Saint-Germain fell through at the deadline

Luciano Acosta has been backed by Wayne Rooney to one day join a top club, with the D.C. United captain calling the Argentine “one of the best” that he’s played with.

Acosta appeared set for a deadline-day transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, but the move fell apart in the final hours of the transfer window amid reports of disagreement over the fee and a lack of support by PSG manager Thomas Tuchel.

Other potential Premier League options never materialised, meaning Acosta will remain with D.C. for now, though his contract is set to expire at the end of the 2019 MLS season.

The midfielder will now join his team-mates in training camp ahead of the new season, and Rooney is among those looking to speak to Acosta to provide words of motivation.

And the ex-Manchester United man believes that as long as Acosta can keep his drive, he will eventually get a move to a top club.

“He needs to keep motivated,” Rooney told the Washington Post. “He’s a professional player; I’m sure he will.

“He now knows what kind of teams are interested in him. If he continues performing up to his ability, he will get there.

“He’s young and he’s talented — one of the best I’ve played with.”

Noting his own transfer drama back in 2004 ahead of his move from Everton to Old Trafford, Rooney added on the transfer deadline: “It’s a stressful time.”

Acosta returns to D.C. looking to build on three impressive seasons with the capital club, including a 2018 campaign that saw him score 10 goals and contribute 17 assists in 33 regular season games.

And D.C. head coach Ben Olsen believes Acosta, despite the whirlwind 48 hours, should be able to get his mind right quickly in order to keep improving and achieve his long-term goals.

“As much as a disappointment as [PSG] is for him, he loves the game of soccer,” Olsen said. “He is going to have to readjust. How long that takes? It shouldn’t take that long.

“Again, the kid loves to play this game. I think he will be okay. He has got a long career ahead of him and he will get to where he wants — and needs — if he continues on this progression.”

Olsen admitted to offering Acosta some time off to cope with the transfer but said the midfielder declined, preferring to rejoin his team-mates.

The coach expressed sympathy for Acosta’s situation, but offered support as well, likening the club to a “family.”

“First and foremost, I am disappointed for him,” Olsen said. “As much as world soccer is about money, it’s still a human business.

“The kid was extremely excited when he left, but he is also a smart kid. He will readjust as we all do with disappointment and get back to his job with D.C. United.

“He knows he has a family here waiting for him.”