It doesn’t seem to be a case of Wayne Rooney being bigger than the club, or trying to be. It seems like Manchester United and David Moyes mishandling a situation they could have dealt with better, and by that might be losing one of the team’s best players, even if he isn’t treated as such.
These weren’t his exact words, but Moyes pretty much says that Rooney is going to be a rotation player from here on out for Manchester United, and some might even suggest he’s on some sort of trial. His injury that sent him back home from their Asian tour obviously didn’t help, and pushed this weird, unfolding saga between the player and club into an even more bizarre territory.
The question is – are United actually willing to sell Rooney? The player is willing to leave. He has been for quite a while, although the early days of Moyes being in charge made Rooney believe that whatever made him feel unwanted at the end of last season is gone. However, it seems that nothing has really changed over the last three months.
Is Rooney that damaging to United they can’t bare to have him around anymore? Probably not. He’s expensive, and he attracts a lot of media attention, usually to things that don’t concern football. But his production on the field for the last decade has been undisputed. His versatility, finishing, passing and work rate when it’s football involved and not his relationship with the staff has mostly been fantastic.
But like many stars, Rooney has too big of an ego, too big for his own good. He expects to be the number one player on the team, and get the number one treatment as well. For three seasons after Cristiano Ronaldo left, he felt quite comfortable in the role of the top player on the team, but Robin van Persie arriving changed all that.
Suddenly, Rooney was the one who had to move in order to make room in the lineup. To the wing, to the attacking midfield and even in a more retreated position. Instead of cementing his place as United’s best and most important player, Rooney was slightly shoved aside, and slowly but surely getting shown the door, as it seems a lot of what Ferguson was doing last season (sometimes was forced to because of injuries) was trying to show that United can make it without Rooney.
In the league, it worked. Rooney had his strong period, but it was one of his weakest seasons – injuries and his own tendencies to fall out of shape hurt him along the way. In the Champions League? Getting benched before the match against Real Madrid was a huge mistake by Ferguson, even if he felt Rooney wasn’t one of his best players during the first leg. Suddenly “believing” in him again when all was lost seemed too little, too late.
And now? Rooney wanted United to claim he never asked for a transfer request, although all signs point that he did. Rooney wanted to be a big part of Moyes’ plans next season, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Chelsea, and maybe others, are waiting for something to happen. Every other week the wind blows in a different direction, and this time, it seems to be taking Rooney away from United, and not for the first time. Maybe this time it’ll actually happen.