Former Claret Chris McCann, team-mate of Wayne Rooney, talks to the Burnley Express about England's all-time leading scorer amid latest speculation

Wayne Rooney in action for DC United
Wayne Rooney in action for DC United

Playing alongside England's all-time leading scorer Wayne Rooney has both intrigued and inspired former Burnley midfielder Chris McCann.


The 31-year-old Irishman is currently in Washington where he's featured seven times for DC United in the MLS having made the switch from Atlanta United earlier in the year.

McCann, who was named in the XI that marked Burnley's first ever game in the Premier League, a 2-0 defeat to Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium almost a decade ago, is enjoying working with one of the biggest names in the sport.

Rooney, who scored 281 times with Everton and Manchester United, has netted 11 goals in 23 appearances for Ben Olsen's side this season as they challenged for top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Manchester United's all-time top scorer, who leads the way for the Three Lions with 53 goals, scored from his own half last month to seal victory over former Clarets midfielder James O'Connor's Orlando City at Audi Field.

The five-time Premier League winner and UEFA Champions League victor, who is expected to make a return to England with either Derby County or Burnley, produced similar finishes for the Red Devils and the Toffees, both against West Ham United, who had Joe Hart in goal the second time around.

"It can be great to see and understand how somebody has lived their life at the top and achieved so much," said McCann, who made 241 starts during his time at Turf Moor. "You see the demands they put on themselves and the demands they put on others.

"We came in at half-time the other week and it was 0-0 (against Toronto FC) and he was giving us all the classic rant and rave in the dressing room just to try and get the boys going.

"You can understand his frustration because he's used to winning all the time and he's still a winner. Even though he's here, and people say it's where you go to finish, he doesn't just want to be another one of them.

"He wants to win things and he's trying to get across his ideas and the values that he had in England. We were near the top of the league and he was demanding that we stay there and demanding more from everyone."

McCann added: "We're more than capable of doing well as a team. He wanted to fulfil his ambition of winning something over here.

"In general terms the team is fine and it's a good set of lads. I had a couple of games against them last year and they're always tough.

"They always seemed to beat us every time we played them. I knew what kind of team I was walking in to, I knew they were a good side and we've got Wayne [Rooney] who is very well known.

"Having someone you can bounce off in relation to English things back home makes it a lot easier for everyone, myself included.

"You come to America and you don't really know anybody but the English boys bounce off each other and talk rubbish about things going on back home.

"That's all it takes to feel some sort of connection. He's been fine since he came in and the rest of the lads have been great as well."

Rooney had been in United's side in 2009 when Sir Alex Ferguson brought his defending champions to Turf Moor.

It was Burnley's first home game back in the top flight since a 3-1 defeat to Coventry City on April 24th, 1976.

The 1-0 win against United, thanks to Robbie Blake's thunderous volley and Brian Jensen's penalty save from Michael Carrick, was one of the highlights of a campaign that ultimately concluded in a return to the Championship.

McCann, who made just eight appearances that season due to injury, said: "It was amazing. People looked at the fixtures and predicted that we wouldn't get any points from the first few.

"Once we got the confidence after the United game we just seemed to get the extra belief that we could do well.

"Unfortunately I got injured, which was devastating for me. I was out for a while. That was gutting to have worked so hard to get there to then have it taken away. That was a bit cruel.

"We did well, but ultimately we came up just short. We came a bit unstuck at the end. That was a bit disheartening, but it was a great experience to be a part of that group that went up. To share that with them was good."

McCann, meanwhile, had been hoping to continue his proud record of winning something with every club he's played at during his career.

The Dubliner, who won a single cap for the Republic of Ireland Under 19s, won promotion to the top flight with Burnley under Owen Coyle after beating Sheffield United in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.

He went on to win the League One title with Wigan Athletic in 2015/16 and then, after flying across the Atlantic to start his American dream, he helped Atlanta United to glory in the 23rd season of Major League Soccer.

"I've won something with every club I've been at," he said. "I didn't know that, but somebody told me the other day. I never really thought about it, but it's quite a nice record to have.

"We got the promotion with Burnley in 2009 then I won the title at Wigan and then the MLS with Atlanta. It's nice to have a couple of trophies and medals to look back on.

"Obviously having my little lad [Jay] as well, it's great that he's in to football now and he understands what's going on.

"Last season he was on the field with the trophy and had my medal on so to share that with him was great. It's good to give him memories as well that he can look back on when he's older."