Wayne Rooney says MLS All-Star Game vs. Arsenal is 'a BIG moment'

Wayne Rooney hails All-Star Game vs. Arsenal as ‘a BIG moment’ for MLS and ‘a highlight personally’ after being named coach of the US team against the Premier League title contender in Washington this July

  • The MLS All-Stars will play Arsenal at Audi Field in Washington D.C. on July 19
  • Arsenal could arrive in the United States as the Premier League’s title holders 
  • Click here for all your latest international Sports news from DailyMail.com 

Wayne Rooney believes the friendly between an All-Star team and Premier League leader Arsenal is a landmark moment of progress for Major League Soccer. 

The DC United boss will take charge of a team involving the best across the American top flight to face Mikel Arteta’s title chasing squad on July 19 in Washington D.C. 

‘I’ve had a front row seat to watch the growth and development of Major League Soccer, first as a player and now as a manager,’ Rooney said, after Arsenal were confirmed as the All-Star’s opponent on Tuesday. 

‘The opportunity to lead the best our league has to offer against a top Premier League club like Arsenal will be a highlight for me personally and an unforgettable experience for our passionate fanbase here in DC. 

‘It’s a huge step forward for the league to provide that access to the All-Star Team and Arsenal. It’s a big moment for the All-Star Game as well as it’ll be the first time it’s shown all around the world, and I’m sure there will be people with interest in the game tuning in.

Wayne Rooney and Kieran Gibbs marked the announcement at Audi Field in Washington D.C.

Premier League leaders Arsenal will take on an MLS All-Star team in Washington D.C in July

Arsenal could arrive as the Premier League champion for the All-Star game in July

‘I think it’s exciting for fans in different countries and all around the world to be able to watch the game.’ 

Rooney, who has taken part in the game previously as a player, will have a squad filled with MLS’s brightest stars. 

‘It’s almost like being an international manager where you select your squad and bring them together for a short period of time, and I’m excited by it. 

‘We’ve obviously got a few months for players to earn a spot on the team, so I’m sure the players will be thinking about that.’

Former Inter Miami and Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs, who played in Arsenal’s game against the MLS All-Star Team in San Jose in 2016, was effusive in his praise for Rooney. 

‘Wayne, as a player, was super competitive, and his career speaks for itself in that respect,’ he said. 

‘You wouldn’t expect too many things to change because he’s a born winner. There are always fireworks around the corner when Wayne’s around, so I’m sure that will add a little bit of spice to the game.’

In the last match between the teams, Arsene Wenger – the last man to deliver a Premier League title for the Gunners – was managing Arsenal. This time around it will be Mikel Arteta, who believes a second consecutive tour of the US will be a welcome sight for his squad. 

Rooney and former Arsenal and Miami defender Gibbs played against each other in England

Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta said his team is thrilled to playing against the All Stars this year

Arsenal has United States goalkeeper Matt Turner on its roster – he joined the team last year 

‘It’s great that we’re playing against the MLS All-Stars in Washington D.C. in July,’ he said. 

‘Our US tour last summer was very good preparation for the season, and we’re looking forward to once again visiting our amazing supporters in the US. The match against the MLS All-Stars will be a good test ahead of the 2023-24 season.’ 

At present, Arsenal is battling it out for Premier League glory with Manchester City – meaning the All Stars could be playing against title winners in July.

Arteta’s team is eight points above Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, although City has played one game less and can cut that gap to five.

Arsenal also has United States goalkeeper Matt Turner on its roster. Turner joined the London-based team in July 2022 from New England Revolution.

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