Rooney says U.S. players in MLS are 'underpaid'

Rooney believes MLS players deserve more money (1:03)

Wayne Rooney discusses the two things that he would change about Major League Soccer. (1:03)

D.C. United striker Wayne Rooney has said that American players in Major League Soccer do not get paid enough.

The former Manchester United striker told ESPN FC in an exclusive interview that his U.S. teammates do not earn enough money, calling for team owners and league officials to increase wages in the next collective bargaining agreement.

"I feel that American players get underpaid," he said. "I feel they deserve to get more money to stay in line with football in the rest of the world and in terms of the American sports.

"I'm not saying it to benefit me, I obviously won't be in the league next season. I think it's only fair to those players who are putting in the same work as all have to earn the right to earn more money for doing it."

The existing collective bargaining agreement is due to expire on Jan. 31, 2020, with players previously threatening to strike if changes are not made to salaries, travel accommodations and more freedom of movement between MLS clubs when contracts expire.

Rooney is one of the three Designated Players at D.C. United, meaning that he is allowed to earn above $10,192-a-week, the cap for non-Designated Players on MLS rosters.

Rooney has scored 23 goals in 45 league appearances, but will leave for second-tier English side Derby County at the end of the MLS season.