In the summer of 2004, as he entered a second season in Manchester United’s intense glare, U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard encountered an expensive new teammate at the Carrington training ground. The newcomer’s poise and determination belied his teenage years.

“He was a tough-as-nails kid from Liverpool. Working class. Didn’t back down from anything,” Howard recalled this week. “He was a boy among a lot of men and never looked out of place. He never took any crap.”

His name was Wayne Rooney, who, at age 18, was 6 1/2 years younger than Howard. He had been the subject of what, at the time, was the largest transfer fee ($35 million) for a teenager in Premier League history.

Howard and Rooney were teammates for two years at fabled Old Trafford and, when Howard left in 2006, they became Premier League opponents for 10 seasons.

Now, two years since Howard departed Everton for the Colorado Rapids, Rooney also seems poised to depart the Liverpool-based club for MLS. D.C. United, sources close to the situation said, is close to signing the 32-year-old attacker at a salary of some $5 million, three times the previous club record.

The career scoring leader for Manchester United and the English national team would become the most famous figure in United’s 22-year history and raise the profile of a long-frugal organization that fell behind most of its brethren in the blossoming league and its pro sports counterparts in Washington.

In an interview Wednesday, Howard offered insight into Rooney’s personality and drive, as well as his outlook for success in MLS.

Howard dismissed concerns about Rooney’s age.

“The idea isn’t whether a player is of a certain age; it’s whether they are motivated and whether they are driven to come here and perform, help a team and ultimately buy into it,” said Howard, who turned …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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