Wayne Rooney has been appointed head coach of Major League Soccer side DC United.
It is Rooney’s second job in management after he left Derby County last month and he rejected criticism at his return to the American club.
“I’ve seen a few articles, certainly back in England, on this being a possible backward step in my managerial career,” said the 36-year-old.
“I really find that a bit disrespectful to this league.”
Rooney said he had spoken to his wife first after DC United came in for him and events leading to him taking up the role progressed quickly.
“Any major decisions I make like this are discussed with my wife,” he said. “My family will, for the time being, stay in England and come over and visit.
“There were a few other clubs – both in England and in Europe – who got in touch. My plan really was to, after Derby County, take a bit of a break and then see what comes up.
“Once my agent called and said DC had come in, it was quite quick really – probably within 24 hours.”
England and Manchester United’s record goalscorer spent 18 months at DC United and captained the side before joining Derby as a player-coach in January 2020.
Rooney went on to manage the club through a period when they were in administration and was in charge as they were relegated to League One last season.
“I feel the experience I’ve gained at Derby County over the past 18 months has been great for my development as a coach, as a manager,” added Rooney.
“To come here back to the MLS, back to DC United, was an exciting challenge for me – something which I feel can develop me as a coach.
“The team need to improve, I think that’s obvious for everyone to see, and I really think with my capabilities of developing young players – of course we’re working hard to get a few new players in – we can really get this club to successful ways again.
“It’s going to take a lot of hard work, but that’s what I’m here to do and really improve the team.”
DC United said Rooney is “one of the most exciting and dynamic up-and-coming managers in our sport”.
Co-chairmen Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan added in a statement: “He’s already proven in his young coaching career that he knows how to lead a group through adversity.
“He has an understanding of our league and what it takes to be successful in Major League Soccer thanks to his two-year stay with us as a player.
“The passion he showed while wearing Black-and-Red electrified our city and our club and we are so excited to welcome him back as our head coach.”
DC United have been without a manager since April, are second bottom of the Eastern Conference and were beaten 7-0 by Philadelphia Union on Friday.
Interim head coach Chad Ashton will remain in charge of the team until Rooney has received his work visa.
“I’m an ambitious person,” added Rooney.
“One day I want to manage at the top level, and this is part of that process in terms of coming here and trying to develop this club, trying to get success here, but also develop myself as a manager.”