‘It wouldn’t work’ – Wayne Rooney joins Jurgen Klopp in rubbishing controversial Boehly All-Star idea

Harry Watkinson
D.C. United manager Wayne Rooney
D.C. United manager Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney has insisted that an All-Star game would never work in the UK, despite the fact he is currently a manager of one in the US.

The Manchester United icon will be in the dugout for the MLS All-Stars’ upcoming match against Arsenal. As the manager of D.C. United, Rooney is tasked with picking an XI of players who he believes are the best in his division.

For the MLS players, they are in the middle of their season. For Arsenal, however, it is just part of their pre-season.

Last year, Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly suggested the idea of a North vs South game in England. This was, understandably, met with criticism by fans and managers. Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was particularly baffled by the idea.

Now, Rooney has agreed with Klopp, saying it would not go down well in the UK.

“I don’t think it will work,” Rooney said in a recent interview. “Everything over here (United States) is different. Culture is different.

“It’s a huge game here but I think in England the rivalry between teams, between the cultures, [they] will complain about the players playing too much and I just don’t think it will work.

“Over here it’s part of this league. It’s great to be a part of. But in England it wouldn’t work.”

Mikel Arteta was asked the same question. He suggested that while he wouldn’t be happy with the idea, he sees it as something that could happen in the future.

“For me as an Arsenal coach to play against the MLS All-Stars – great! If you ask me the other way around, if it’s in the middle of the season then probably the opposite if I had to let a lot of players go,” Arteta said.

“But I think it’s great for the players to gather together, the most talented players in the team. If I was a player, for sure, I’d want to experience that and, why not, in the future it can be done.”

As mentioned, Boehly floated the idea of a Premier League version back in September.

He said: “Ultimately I hope the Premier League takes a little bit of a lesson from American sports. And really starts to figure out, why don’t we do a tournament with the bottom four sports teams, why isn’t there an All-Star game?

“People are talking about more money for the pyramid, in the MLB All-Star game this year we made 200m dollars from a Monday and a Tuesday. So we’re thinking we could do a North versus South All-Star game for the Premier League, for whatever the pyramid needed quite easily.”

Klopp swiftly shot down Boehly’s suggestion, echoing Rooney’s concerns about existing rivalries between players and clubs. He also questioned whether it would be feasible to fit another fixture into an already congested schedule.

“He doesn’t wait long,” Klopp said. “When [Boehly] finds a date for that he can call me.

“He forgets in American sports these players have four-month breaks so they are quite happy they can do a little bit of sport in these breaks. It’s completely different in football.

“Does he want to bring the Harlem Globetrotters as well?

“I’m surprised by the question so please don’t judge my answers too much, but maybe he can explain it to me at one point and find a proper date.

“I’m not sure people want to see that. Imagine that, (Manchester) United, Liverpool, Everton, Newcastle players all on one team that’s not the national team, just a north team. Interesting game.

“All the London guys together. Arsenal, Tottenham. Great. Did he really say it? Interesting.”

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