Rumours that Wayne Rooney is nearing an exit is gathering momentum with reports suggesting the player – his dodgy representatives that is – has already told Manchester United that he won’t be signing a contract extension. The tune was different after the World Cup, with both club and the puppet masters saying Rooney would sign.
Yours truly used to love Wayne Rooney. Really. Ever since he scored that goal against Arsenal for Everton we knew this boy was United material. When he finally arrived at Old Trafford he scored a hat trick on his début and went on to form a formidable partnership with first Ruud van Nistelrooy, then Carlos Tevez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Dimitar Berbatov.
That seems ages ago to be honest.
Rooney had a marvelous season last year and even though he had an unfortunate injury against Bayern Munich in March, it was always asking a lot to expect a similar level of performance forever, each and every season.
On the other hand, even a niggling ankle injury and plenty of negative press shouldn’t render a United player this bad. Rooney’s positioning, touch, speed, aggression and shooting have all disappeared this season, with just one moment of brilliance to recall – a magnificent pass that Berbatov wasted after a few minutes of play against Bolton Wanderers.
This season, Rooney wasn’t even include in United’s squad for away games against Valencia and Sunderland. He shouldn’t have played as a substitute against West Bromwich Albion last weekend. He was that poor.
United fans couldn’t care less about Rooney’s non-efficient World Cup; countries mean nothing while United means everything but everybody saw how badly he played.
Rooney’s form is there for all to see. This isn’t just some dip in form; it is actually a former world-class footballer playing like an overweight Sunday league striker! Form is temporary and class permanent they say but Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Eric Cantona nor Cristian Ronaldo played – let’s be honest – like shit for six months straight.
Is Rooney now worth £200,000 a week? Nobody is but even if United was still the richest – for sake of argument, let’s forget the Glazer debt – should the club then pay a formerly excellent player that much? Many supporters will say no.
When Ryan Giggs had a contract dispute with the club – around the beginning of the noughties – he literally played like the rest of his career depended on it. Is it too much to ask a player seeking a raise to actually defend it on the pitch?
They say that News of the World knew of Rooney’s infidelity months before the World Cup but ‘saved’ the story until afterwards. Then surely Rooney should have gone to his mentor, Sir Alex Ferguson and told him of his troubles. After all, Sir Alex Ferguson hasn’t had a problem with his players cheating on their partners or sleeping with prostitutes in the past.
What broke the relationship then?
Perhaps then the Gaffer is mad at his player for not letting him know that a story was about to explode in the press?
Maybe, Sir Alex is willing to cut his former protégé loose for other reasons as well. Rooney denying the ankle problem and thus contradicting his manager publicly. The fact that Rooney loves a fag and some ‘proper’ English food isn’t really what top sportsmen should, while the player sees little problem in having a drink or two. Is Ferguson fed up with Rooney not taking proper care of himself off the pitch too?
Whatever the reasons, as it stands, United has no choice but to cut Rooney loose. Let City pay his reported demands of £200,000 a week. He’s not worth it, even if the club wasn’t saddled with Glazer’s debt.
United face a major issue the coming months; if the club has decided to cash in on Rooney, it cannot happen until the January transfer window and that’s potentially three more months of internal conflict. Right now, Rooney does barely merits a place on the bench!
One thing is certain: no matter what your opinion of the striker is, there’s no way he’ll become ‘the next Sir Bobby Charlton’ as some of us thought he would, all those years ago.