Wayne Rooney will return to English football from MLS's DC United in January after agreeing to a player-coach role under manager Phillip Cocu at Derby County.

Rooney, 33, will join the Rams on an 18-month contract with the option of a further year, having spent 13 months in the United States.

The former Manchester United and England captain made a strong impact in MLS, scoring 23 goals in 44 matches.

However, his desire to get into management has brought about a return to England, linking up with Cocu in a position that will see him develop as a coach and continue playing.

"I am very excited about the opportunity that Derby County have provided me with," Rooney told the club's website.

"I am looking forward to joining Phillip Cocu, his coaching staff and the first-team squad from the start of January.

"I am sure I can make a big contribution and can't wait to meet everyone, especially the supporters.

"I must also take this opportunity to thank DC United, their owners, executives and supporters who have been superb to work with. I want them to know that I will give my all in support of our push for the play-offs."

Cocu said: "Wayne Rooney is an extremely talented and top-class footballer.

"It is an exciting prospect for him to be joining Derby County and he can bring so much to this squad, both on and off the pitch. He has enjoyed a wonderful career, both in club football and for England, and he still has so much to give as well.

"His credentials speak for themselves. But to have a player with his leadership, skill, experience, character and work ethic will be huge for us. He knows what it takes to succeed as a player and I have no doubt he will have a positive impact right across the club."

Rooney's last season in England did not go entirely to plan, as he often appeared off the pace in the Premier League with Everton, despite scoring 10 goals in 31 games.

Previously he became United's all-time leading scorer in 2017, surpassing Bobby Charlton's record of 249 to cement his name in the club's history.

He also won a host of trophies in his time at Old Trafford, including the 2007-08 Champions League and five Premier League titles, and became club captain.

Rooney is also the most-capped outfield player for England, having played 120 times for his country and scored a record 53 goals.

Derby's primary goal this season will be to return to the Premier League from the Championship, having lost in the play-off final to Aston Villa last term.

Wayne Rooney will return to English football from MLS's DC United in January after agreeing to a player-coach role under manager Phillip Cocu at Derby County.

Wayne Rooney is "sure" to sign with Derby County but will not take up his player-coach role until January, said the club's owner.

An agreement is set to be finalised on Tuesday after former England captain Rooney flew into London from the United States, where he is contracted to DC United.

The 33-year-old still has over two years left to run on his deal at Audi Field and will see out the remainder of the MLS season before joining up with Phillip Cocu's squad for the second half of their Championship campaign.

"He wants to finish the season there and of course it's pivotal to them that they're in [contention for] the play-offs at the moment," Rams owner Mel Morris told Sky Sports.

"He was wanting to make sure he saw the season out. He'll join us in January if we can get the deal done."

Morris added: "I'm hoping it's really close. Obviously, we'd love to get it over the line, we're working hard towards that. I'm sure we'll get it done today."

Derby opened talks with Rooney after learning the ex-Everton and Manchester United forward wanted to return to England.

"It stemmed from a conversation between Phillip Cocu and Wayne which was pivotal to this thing," Morris said.

"I think for Wayne [it was important] to come and work with a manager he holds in high esteem and obviously for Phillip the opportunity to get a world-class player and somebody he can have on the field to help bring on the youngsters.

"Wayne is coming here to play for the club but he's also wanting to accelerate his coaching badges.

"A key thing for him in terms of his long-term career ambitions is to become a manager.

"I think the time we had with Frank [Lampard] was great in terms of demonstrating that willingness to give people time, to work with them, to help them develop. I think Wayne sees us as a good place to come and do that."

Morris denied Rooney's arrival at Pride Park would negatively impact the club's Financial Fair Play standing, claiming the "great commercial opportunity" could instead have the opposite effect.

Derby County are "confident" of completing a deal to sign ex-England captain Wayne Rooney on Tuesday, according to club owner Mel Morris.

Rooney, 33, is set to make a surprise return to English football in what is expected to be a player-coach role in support of Rams boss Phillip Cocu.

According to reports, the former Everton and Manchester United forward could see out the MLS season at DC United before moving to Pride Park in January.

"It's never done until it's done but we're obviously focused and very keen to get it over the line this morning," Morris told talkSPORT.

Wayne Rooney arrived at Heathrow Airport in England on Tuesday ahead of a reported move to Derby County from MLS side DC United.

Rooney, 33, is rumoured to have agreed to a player-coach role under manager Phillip Cocu at Derby, bringing a close to his time in the United States.

Media reports relating to a return to English football began circulating on Monday as Derby opened their Championship campaign with a 2-1 win at Huddersfield Town.

England's most-capped outfield player was said to be flying to London to complete the deal and was spotted at Heathrow the following day, taking photos with fans after his arrival.

The former Manchester United and Everton star has long been expected to go into management, having undertaken coaching courses alongside his duties as a player.

Should reports prove accurate, he will combine those roles at Pride Park.

After breaking the world-record fee for a defender, Manchester United do not appear to be done just yet.

With Harry Maguire joining Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James at Old Trafford, a London-based Dane could make the move to Manchester.

It could also lead to an in-demand Portuguese midfielder swapping Sporting CP for Tottenham.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED MAKE LAST-DITCH ERIKSEN MOVE

Manchester United are hoping to sign Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen before Thursday's deadline, according to the Daily Mail.

Eriksen is reluctant to renew his contract – which expires in 2020 – with Tottenham and United are looking to lure the Denmark international to Manchester prior to the transfer window closing.

If Eriksen, who has also been linked to Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Juventus, leaves Tottenham then he could be replaced with Sporting CP captain Bruno Fernandes.

Portugal international Fernandes has long been tipped to join United.

 

ROUND-UP

- InfoSport+ says Paris Saint-Germain have made a €60million offer for Juventus attacker Paulo Dybala. Dybala was linked to Manchester United as part of a swap deal involving Romelu Lukaku but that move has seemingly ended over reported wage demands.

- Staying with the same theme and Corriere dello Sport reports that D-Day is approaching. Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri is pushing Dybala to leave Turin, as the Argentina international weighs up offers from Manchester United and PSG. Lukaku, meanwhile, is said to have already reached an agreement with the Serie A champions.

Bayern Munich are set to sign Manchester City's Leroy Sane, claims France Football. The Germany international will reportedly return to his homeland in a club-record €113m (£104.4m) transfer on a five-year contract.

Inter are considering signing Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal on loan, according to FcInterNews. Vidal worked under Antonio Conte at Juventus and they could be reunited in Milan as Barca look to lighten their midfield following the arrival of Frenkie de Jong.

- Widespread reports in Italy claim a deal involving Joao Cancelo and Danilo is done. Manchester City will reportedly send Danilo and €28m to Juventus in exchange for Portugal full-back Cancelo.

- According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Premier League side Wolves are ready to offer €30m for Juventus defender Daniele Rugani. The 25-year-old has also been linked to Arsenal following the arrivals of Matthijs de Ligt and Merih Demiral.

Everton have put together a £100m transfer package to sign Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha. According to The Sun, Everton will offer £65m plus striker Cenk Tosun and midfielder James McCarthy.

- Widespread reports in the United Kingdom claim Wayne Rooney is close to joining Championship outfit Derby County as a player-coach. Former Manchester United and England captain Rooney has two seasons remaining on his contract with MLS team DC United.

Tom Lawrence's well-taken double in the first half gave Derby County a 2-1 win over Huddersfield Town – amid speculation new boss Phillip Cocu could sensationally be joined at Pride Park by Wayne Rooney.

Last season's beaten Championship play-off finalists hit the front midway through the first half at the John Smith's Stadium, when a woeful mix-up involving Tommy Elphick and goalkeeper Kamil Grabara saw Wales international Lawrence lift into an unguarded net from 25 yards.

Three minutes later Derby doubled their advantage, with Lawrence arrowing in a superb strike from the edge of the box to crown a crisp team move.

Huddersfield pulled a goal back when Karlan Grant converted a 30th-minute penalty and substitute Elias Kachunga passed up the best chance to avert a loss on their return to the second tier.

After the match, Cocu addressed the prospects of Rooney leaving DC Untied and returning to English football as a player-coach at Derby, neglecting to deny the rumour.

"At the moment I cannot say anything," he told Sky Sports. "We are working on completing the team. We said it was not complete yet, it's true.

"We are working to get the team done and we cannot say anything about names before things are done.

"We have a lot of players we think could be an asset for the team. You always try to get the best you can with the resources we have available at the club.

"We have a few more days and hopefully soon I can tell you something more."

Brighton and Hove Albion have completed the signing of striker Neal Maupay from Brentford for a reported £20million.

The 22-year-old has agreed to a four-year contract with the Premier League side after impressing in the Championship.

Brighton boss Graham Potter said: "Neal is a talented striker, with good strength and pace, and he is a goalscorer. He will add an extra dimension to our existing forward options, and we are delighted to have completed the transfer. 

"The club has been monitoring Neal and has been aware of his ability for some time. Separately I was also aware of his obvious ability at Swansea and came up against him in the Championship last season. 

"His record in the Championship has been exceptional, with 41 goals across the last two seasons, and now his challenge is to transfer that to the Premier League."

Maupay is Brighton's fourth signing since last season, following Adam Webster, Leandro Trossard and Matt Clarke to the south coast.

Pablo Hernandez scored one and set up another as Leeds United kicked off their Championship campaign with a 3-1 victory over Bristol City at Ashton Gate on Sunday.

Last season's beaten play-off semi-finalists took the lead with 26 minutes played through star man Hernandez, who turned on the edge of the box and curled the ball into the top corner.

Kiko Casilla produced a good save to keep out Josh Brownhill's low drive late in the first half and that proved a big moment in the match as Patrick Bamford got across his man to convert Hernandez' cross 57 minutes in.

Leeds added a third with 18 minutes to go courtesy of Jack Harrison's close-range finish after Stuart Dallas' shot was blocked in front of goal.

Despite Andreas Weimann pulling one back for the hosts seven minutes later with a low shot past Casilla at his near post, Leeds saw things through to make a winning start to Marcelo Bielsa's second season in charge.

Fulham and Cardiff City suffered defeats on their Championship returns on Saturday, as Charlton Athletic and Barnsley were victorious following promotion from League One.

Sheffield Wednesday also made a commendable start to the season with a 3-1 win at Reading, despite being without a permanent manager in the wake of Steve Bruce's departure to Newcastle United.

QPR beat a much-changed Stoke City 2-1 on the road, while Birmingham City also succeeded away from home, beating Brentford 1-0.

Millwall claimed a 1-0 victory at home to Preston North End and Hull City went down 2-1 away to Swansea City.

BLUEBIRDS DOWNED BY WIGAN

Cardiff's return to the Championship following Premier League relegation proved they are in for a testing campaign, as Wigan edged a five-goal thriller at the DW Stadium.

Joe Ralls volleyed the Bluebirds in front after 20 minutes and they remained ahead when Josh Windass hit the post with a penalty following a foul by Sean Morrison early in the second half.

Wigan levelled prior to the hour when a deflected free-kick fell to Michael Jacobs to turn home, before Windass made amends by rifling into the bottom-left corner.

Omar Bogle tapped in from close range against his former club in the 70th minute to equalise, but back came Wigan – Lee Evans finding the top-right corner with a screamer to seal the victory.

 

BARNSLEY MAKE IMPRESSIVE RETURN

Barnsley and Fulham were almost in two entirely different worlds last season, with one clawing their way up from League One and the other rubbing shoulders with the elite in the Premier League.

The only goal of their meeting at Oakwell came in the 13th minute, when debutant Luke Thomas beat his man and fired home from inside the box.

Barnsley had two lucky escapes past the hour mark, with Mads Andersen clearing efforts from Tom Cairney and then Floyd Ayite off the line, allowing the hosts to get off to a winning start.

 

LATE WIN DELIGHTS CHARLTON

Promoted via the play-offs, Charlton got off to a flying start in the Championship thanks to an applaudable 2-1 win at Blackburn Rovers.

Ben Purrington opened the scoring just before the break, converting at the back post from Jonny Williams' delivery.

Blackburn levelled early in the second half in fortuitous fashion – Naby Sarr cleared a goal-bound effort off the line, only for it to hit goalkeeper Dillon Phillips and ricochet into the net.

But Lyle Taylor had the last laugh, applying a deft flicked finish to Jason Pearce's header, meaning none of the three promoted teams suffered defeat upon their returns to the Championship, with Luton Town drawing at home to Middlesbrough on Friday.

 

BULLEN'S OWLS SOAR

It was a turbulent close season for Sheffield Wednesday due to the saga surrounding Bruce's exit to Newcastle, but they looked sharp as they claimed an impressive 3-1 win away to Reading in their opening match under caretaker manager Lee Bullen.

Kadeem Harris put them ahead on the half-hour mark, but Yakou Meite's looping header restored parity in the 54th minute.

Wednesday swiftly retook the lead, however – Sam Hutchinson nodding in Barry Bannan's corner on his birthday for his first league goal since December 2016.

Keiren Westwood was sent off for clattering Modou Barrow in the 80th minute, but Lucas Joao wrapped things up late on for the visitors with a neat finish from the edge of the box.

Brighton and Hove Albion have signed Adam Webster from Bristol City for a reported club-record £20m fee.

Webster put pen to paper on a four-year contract in a move that could pave the way for Lewis Dunk to replace Manchester United-bound Harry Maguire at Leicester City.

The 24-year-old centre-back, who was playing for Portsmouth in League Two just three years ago, is looking forward to testing himself in the Premier League.

"It's been a bit of a drawn-out process, but I'm absolutely delighted to finally get it over the line. This move is a dream come true for me and my family, so I can't wait to get started," said Webster in a statement.

"After speaking with the manager [Graham Potter], my heart was set on coming here. I grew up nearby in Chichester, so to be closer to home is an added bonus for me.

"He [Potter] was in charge of a very good Swansea City side last season, which played a lot of football. That's something which will suit my game here, and I can't wait to work with him."

Potter added: "Adam is a player the club has been aware of for some time, and someone we came up against last season at Swansea City.

"He is a quality defender, comfortable on the ball, fits the profile of the type of player we want to bring to the club, and he was very keen to join us.

"He is still relatively young, but has good experience from the number of games he has played. Predominately a centre-half, he can also play at right-back, and he will bring additional competition alongside our existing defensive options."

Luton Town showed admirable character to twice come from behind and secure a thrilling 3-3 draw at home to Middlesbrough upon their return to the Championship after a 12-year absence.

Boro made an encouraging start and edged ahead seven minutes into the new season thanks to Ashley Fletcher's glancing header, but the lead did not last long – Sonny Bradley rifling an unstoppable 25-yard volley into the top-left corner to level.

Luton led 24 minutes in when former Boro player Martin Cranie headed in from a corner, though Britt Assombalonga restored parity when his tame effort was inexplicably helped in by the hosts' goalkeeper Simon Sluga.

James Collins had a goal disallowed for blatant handball just after the restart, before Boro retook the lead in style through Lewis Wing, whose pinpoint long-range effort flew into the top-right corner 22 minutes from time.

Assombalonga had the chance to double his tally from the spot after Cranie tripped Hayden Coulson, but his effort flew over and Luton capitalised five minutes from time – Collins sweeping home from 10 yards to secure a deserved point.

Burnley have moved quickly to bring in Tom Heaton's replacement, signing Bailey Peacock-Farrell from Leeds United for an undisclosed fee.

England international Heaton ended his six-year stay at Turf Moor on Thursday, joining newly promoted Aston Villa.

Nick Pope – who missed much of last season through injury and then struggled to establish himself in the side ahead of Heaton and Joe Hart – is tipped to be Burnley's first-choice goalkeeper for the new season.

But extra competition will come from Peacock-Farrell, who has signed a four-year deal with an option for a further season.

The 22-year-old Northern Ireland international made his debut for Leeds in April 2016, but he did not establish himself as a regular at Elland Road until the second half of the 2017-18 campaign.

Peacock-Farrell was first choice for much of Marcelo Bielsa's first campaign in charge of the Championship club, though lost his place after Leeds signed Kiko Casilla from Real Madrid in January.

 

"To say that I've signed for Burnley is a massive honour" pic.twitter.com/X0fKOn69N5

— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) August 2, 2019

"I'm really happy to be here. A Premier League club is what you dream of when you are starting out in football," Peacock-Farrell told Burnley's official website.

"There's massive competition here, but it was an opportunity I couldn't turn down. The goalkeepers here are really good and two of them are England internationals. There's something going on here that must be right."

Doubts remain over Hart's future at Turf Moor, as the former Manchester City and England star featured Burnley's first 19 league games last term but failed to make a single appearance after a 5-1 defeat to Everton on Boxing Day.

Neil Warnock insisted the 2019-20 season is "absolutely" his last as a football manager as he prepared for a return to the Championship, where his Cardiff City side will battle for promotion in a division of contrasting football philosophies.

Former Leeds United boss Warnock will relish the Bluebirds' games against his old club more than ever as he pits his wits against Marcelo Bielsa following a turbulent first season in England for the former Argentina coach.

Slaven Bilic will embark upon his first adventure as a Championship boss as he aims to steer West Brom back into the Premier League, while Fulham's Scott Parker, Derby County's Phillip Cocu and Charlton Athletic's Lee Bowyer all make their managerial debuts in the division.

West Brom, Derby and Leeds come into the new season still smarting from play-off disappointment in 2018-19, while Huddersfield Town, Fulham and Cardiff arrive having tumbled out of the top flight last term.

Luton Town, Barnsley and Charlton are the newcomers from League One and all three will fancy their chances of causing more than a few surprises as they take on a division that looks wide open.

BIELSA IS BACK FOR A SECOND CRACK

Leeds fans breathed a sigh of relief when Bielsa agreed a one-year extension to his Elland Road contract, having seen their side transformed under the 63-year-old's guidance in 2018-19. While 'Spygate' and Leeds' play-off defeat to Derby dominated the headlines last season, they played some of the most attractive football in the division with veteran playmaker Pablo Hernandez instrumental in attack.

They acquired Helder Costa from Wolves and Ben White from Brighton and Hove Albion, while losing centre-back Pontus Jansson to Brentford, but Leeds will rely on many of the same faces that helped them finish third last term. Bielsa's ability to get the best out of his resources - particularly influential midfielder Kalvin Phillips - should ensure they challenge for promotion once again.

WARNOCK TO HAVE ONE MORE GO

Last season was a difficult one for Cardiff, the disappointment of relegation put into context by the tragic death of Emiliano Sala before he even played for the club. The experience left Warnock shaken as he reflected on his bond with Bluebirds fans, and he has promised a title tilt to bring the curtain down on his long career.

Aron Gunnarsson and Victor Camarasa have departed, but Warnock has brought in Will Vaulks from Rotherham to reinforce his midfield, while £5.5million forward Robert Glatzel will be expected to deliver goals.

BEES AND ROVERS HARBOUR TOP-HALF HOPES

Brentford finished 11th last season after manager Dean Smith joined Aston Villa in October, but Thomas Frank got them playing attractive football again as they won four of their final six games. Said Benrahma and Neal Maupay will be out to fire the Bees up the table and turn Griffin Park - where they have lost just one league game in 2019 - into a fortress.

There is similar optimism around Ewood Park, where Blackburn Rovers lost just one of their final five Championship games last term, and where former Southampton striker Sam Gallagher will hope to rediscover the goalscoring touch he showed in a loan spell in Lancashire in 2016-17.

FULHAM AIM TO BOUNCE BACK, BAGGIES REINFORCED

Anthony Knockaert knows all about Championship promotion pushes, having starred in Brighton's ascent in 2016-17, and his creativity and goals could be vital to Fulham's hopes of bouncing straight back after he signed on a season-long loan.

The Championship's bargain hunters are West Brom, who have signed Romaine Sawyers, Darnell Furlong and Semi Ayaji for less than £6m combined, but the £8m capture of forward Kenneth Zohore from Cardiff is a real statement of intent.

Bournemouth have signed Danish midfielder Philip Billing from relegated Huddersfield Town for a reported £15million.

The 23-year-old has signed a "long-term contract" with the Premier League club.

A former Denmark Under-21 international, Billing has shown promise since joining Huddersfield six years ago and successfully made the transition from the academy to the first-team squad.

He played a rotation role as the Terriers earned promotion from the Championship in 2016-17, and eventually became something of a regular last term, featuring 27 times in the Premier League.

A physically imposing yet technically gifted midfielder, Billing was one of few standout performers for Huddersfield as they finished 10 points adrift at the bottom of the top flight.

He fell out of favour towards the end of the campaign and was less than complimentary about Town boss Jan Siewert in May, calling the German "arrogant" and suggesting he lost the respect of the players within a week of being appointed as David Wagner's successor in January.

Billing is Bournemouth's third signing of the transfer window after Jack Stacey and Lloyd Kelly.

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