This Manchester United article comes from Sports Bank guest contributor Robbie Dunne
Wayne Rooney has known only one club in his adult life. He has only known one set of fans and one club manager. He arrived in Manchester as a fresh-faced youngster with the world at his feet and the expectations of a footballing nation on his shoulders, a kid from a working class family in Liverpool who simply loved to play football.
It has been written that after his first appearance for England, he had to ask for a lift back to Croxteth, Liverpool from a friend, as the 17 year old still had no car and no driver’s license. He is now one of the most famous footballers in the world. His debut for United happened to be in the Champions league, the biggest club competition in the world and Rooney bagged himself a hat-trick. It seemed the bigger the odds stacked against Rooney, the more he was likely to succeed. He never had to dream of becoming a professional footballer because he always knew he would become one.
However, Rooney has become a more important fixture in the headlines recently than he did all of last season for his work in a United shirt and as is common for a club with such media attention, the speculation this summer is coming at us every day from different sources. There are usually three sides to a story, two sides and then somewhere in the middle is the truth. There have been so many things said about United’s Number 10 and his relationship with former boss, Sir Alex Ferguson and current boss David Moyes that there seems to be perhaps six or seven sides to this story. It begins with Rooney leaving Everton and their then Manager, David Moyes, for one of the biggest clubs in the world. The story is currently at a crucial point with Rooney supposedly handing in two transfer requests as a member of Manchester United. The first one was at the end of the 2010-2011 season, just after Rooney had nailed down the top striker role for United. His Reason? He wanted the hierarchy of Manchester United to show more ambition and bring in more talent in a push for more silverware.
Manchester United’s response was the purchase of one of the best finishers and most prolific strikers in the world, Robin Van Persie. It would end up being a move that would shake Rooney’s world and see him replaced as United’s hitman. He was played out on the wing, behind Van Persie and was even seen playing an almost defensive midfielder’s role in certain games. As it turns out, Wayne Rooney’s greatest strength as a footballer turned out to be one of his greatest weaknesses. There was a misconception that Rooney didn’t care where he played, he loved football so much that he would play in goals if it meant he was playing football. Wayne Rooney has come a long way since his days kicking around with his friends in Liverpool. The little striker was still United’s go-to guy in times of high pressure situations though, right? …. Wrong. When Alex Ferguson named his starting XI in the second leg of the last 16 game against Real Madrid in the 2012-2013 Champions League, Rooney was named on the bench. Since then, talk of his fitness, work ethic, attitude, best position and future have filled the terraces of Old Trafford.
No story is complete without the villain or Chelsea manager as he is better known. Enter Jose Mourinho. No man has played the role of super villain better than the man who refers to himself as “The Special One”. He knows exactly how Rooney likes to be talked to and he has stated that Rooney is his only transfer target and has gone so far to suggest that it is Rooney or bust for him this summer. Whether he genuinely feels this way or is simply doing this as a way of upsetting the already fragile position Manchester United are in with the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, Rooney is listening to Mourinho speak about him with the kind of respect he feels he has not been afforded in Manchester.
Regardless of what happens this summer, the man who Manchester United fans labelled “The White Pele”, his time is up. One transfer request alone is enough to have you booed from ever corner of Old Trafford but to go and do it twice is the kind of disrespect that United fans, stereotypically, only expect from the blue half of Manchester. Whether United find a suitable buyer this summer or in January, Wayne Rooney’s name no longer holds the weight it once did for United’s faithful. He has become an outcast.
The problem is, however, where does he go? It is unlikely that United will sell Rooney, a player who thrives on pressure, to a Premier League rival. He also has a newly born son and speaks no French or Spanish (that we know of) which would seemingly rule out PSG and Real Madrid. If Mourinho is sincere in his pursuit, then perhaps Chelsea will make an offer that United can’t refuse but for now the Wayne Rooney saga rumbles on.
Robbie Dunne pens his own site Chicago Now.com