Maybe this time it’s really different, and getting benched a few hours before a very important match in the Champions League will be too much for Wayne Rooney and his ego to swallow, but recent Manchester United history is filled with incidents between Rooney and his manager which eventually only led to more league titles and new contracts.
Alex Ferguson isn’t in love with Wayne Rooney, and probably, if he knew there’s a superstar player waiting on the shelve right there to be purchased to put instead of him on the pitch, he’d make a move. But Rooney doesn’t have too many teams that he can go to – maybe PSG are the only option at the moment, but it’s not quite clear if he even wants to leave.
Rooney and Ferguson had their huge explosion in the middle of the 2010-2011 season, which looked like the ending of the relationship. The only questions were who is going to buy Rooney – Manchester City, Real Madrid (who have always been interested in the player) or someone else. You know the end result – Rooney signed a new contract, led United to their 19th league title and reaching the Champions League final for the third time in four seasons.
The next season, during the Christmas schedule just before the new year Rooney was surprisingly dropped from the lineup, probably for disciplinary reasons. This season, earlier on, was more of the same – Rooney is struggling with his fitness and despite having another very productive season in the league, the “star” of the team status has gone to Robin van Persie, while Rooney is moved around the pitch to accommodate the needs of the team.
Nani is another case of hot wind being blown. We’ve heard about the Sir being tired of his antics, and the last chances he’s been given time and time again. Nani has hardly produced one or two worthy displays on the pitch this season, and it was more troubling earlier in the campaign following what’s happening behind the scenes and off the field. It looked likely that Nani is soon to be out of the club.
Rooney has clashed with Ferguson before, and has been benched by him. Truth is, the financial situation in global football means that it’s more up to Wayne Rooney whether he leaves or stays at Manchester United. Ferguson won’t keep Rooney off the pitch because he knows he’s his best or second best player, as long as Rooney isn’t doing something extraordinary out of line. Like Nani being given chance after chance to make himself useful, Rooney deserves and will get those chances as well.
It was a blend of a tactical and disciplinary decision to sit Wayne Rooney on the bench in the 2-1 loss to Real Madrid; maybe something that cost Manchester United the match, but it’s impossible to say that due to the Nani red card which seems to be the event that changed the match. Wayne Rooney has been in this situation before, and so has Alex Ferguson. They both know that if Rooney continues to play like he has for most of the season when he’ll be back in the lineup, his departure won’t be coming so soon.