Wayne Rooney heaps praise on ‘Leeds great’ Mateusz Klich after bringing ‘leader’ to DC United


Wayne Rooney heaps praise on ‘Leeds great’ Mateusz Klich after bringing ‘leader’ to DC United on a two-year deal… and insists he expects ‘big things’ from him in MLS

D.C. United manager Wayne Rooney has said that he expects newly signed midfielder Mateus Klich to have a major, and instant, impact in MLS.

Rooney took over D.C. at the end of last season and has already brought in former Crystal Palace striker and Belgian international Christian Benteke, and Greek international Taxi Fountas.

‘I spoke about it a lot, many times last season, is the mentality of the group,’ Rooney said, addressing the Klich signing shortly after it went official.

Wayne Rooney has said he expects big things from new signing Mateusz Klich from Leeds

‘Of course, we were a very young group. So in terms of players I was wanting to bring in, they had to fit that, they had to fit the profile which I wanted. 

‘And Mateusz, we spoke to many people about him who know him, who know how he’s worked at Leeds and his character. 

‘And that’s the one thing that shone through from everyone I spoke to and obviously speaking to the player himself, I could see that. He’s a confident lad.’

Polish midfielder Klich is expected to play as a box-to-box and attacking midfielder for DC

Polish midfielder Klich is expected to play as a box-to-box and attacking midfielder for DC

Klich, who Rooney described as a ‘leader’, plays as both a box-to-box and attacking midfielder and is under contract through 2024 with an option in 2025.

He was a pivotal part of Leeds’ efforts to earn promotion back to the Premier League in 2020 and throughout his time with the club recorded 24 goals and 21 assists in 195 matches across all competitions.

‘I think I can control the game from midfield,’ Klich said. ‘I can do combination plays between each other, and I can help the team with connecting attack and defense, just be there for everyone who needs to be on the pitch.

‘I do like running and I do like to play No. 8 position, No. 10 position where I can be involved in every attack, every combination play we can do. I think I can bring some experience to the team, obviously. It’s always easy to talk, but it’s harder to do on the pitch.’

Klich takes a penalty kick for Leeds while playing against Barnsley in the Carabao Cup

Klich takes a penalty kick for Leeds while playing against Barnsley in the Carabao Cup

After first learning of interest in him from several teams around MLS, Klich decided to join Rooney’s mission to rebuild D.C. Klich has marked the eighth signing for the club this window, as Rooney plans to get the squad back in the playoffs. 

‘I think a realistic target of course and what we all want is to make playoffs,’ Rooney said. ‘I think we want to compete in this league. ‘

I feel we’ve done some really good business to be able to do that. I think for us, our priority is to try and make playoffs. I think once you do that, we all know anything can happen from there.’

Rooney and assistant coaches stand during the national anthem before playing Atlanta FC

Rooney and assistant coaches stand during the national anthem before playing Atlanta FC

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