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5 players who made the transatlantic switch before Wayne Rooney

Rooney has completed a move to DC United.

Wayne Rooney has joined Washington’s DC United to follow the increasingly popular route of British and Irish footballers crossing the Atlantic.

He continues a trend which began way back when North America’s premier football league was still known as the NASL.

Here, Press Association Sport picks out five of the more memorable spells by players who moved to the American game.

Rodney Marsh

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Rodney Marsh made a big impression at Tampa Bay Rowdies (PA)

Marsh made a major impression on the Tampa Bay Rowdies whom he joined in 1976 from Manchester City. In his four seasons as a player he was twice named in the NASL all-star team, later going on to act both as the club’s manager and ultimately, chief executive.

David Beckham

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David Beckham had mixed fortunes at LA Galaxy (PA)

Beckham raised the profile of Major League Soccer when he signed for LA Galaxy in 2007. The former Manchester United star spent a total of five years stateside, punctuated by two spells at AC Milan, and is currently head of a group which is establishing an MLS expansion franchise in Miami.

Robbie Keane

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Robbie Keane had a highly successful spell stateside (PA)

Keane relished his six seasons with LA Galaxy from 2011 to 2016, scoring 103 goals in 165 appearances for the club and winning the MLS Most Valuable Player award in 2014. Keane was captain of Galaxy for three years before announcing his decision not to renew his contract in 2016, instead taking up an opportunity to play for ATK in India.

Steven Gerrard

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Steven Gerrard’s spell in the US quickly petered out (PA)

Things did not go entirely to plan for Gerrard when he followed in Beckham’s footsteps by joining LA Galaxy in 2015. After a single season in MLS he admitted he had struggled with the travel distances, humidity and artificial turf during his time in the US, and promptly announced his retirement.

Bradley Wright-Phillips

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Bradley Wright-Phillips has been a revelation with New York Red Bulls (Daniel Hambury/Empics)

Almost a journeyman during his career in England, Wright-Phillips’ fortunes rocketed after joining New York Red Bulls in 2013. He scored a record-equalling 27 goals in his first full season for the club and has gone on to become a two-time MLS Golden Boot winner, as well as becoming the Red Bulls’ all-time leading scorer.

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