Wayne Rooney returns to Carrington today after a week’s training and ‘refocusing’ in the United States with no guarantee that the 25-year-old striker will play against Wigan Athletic next weekend. Nor, it seems, is there any assurance that Rooney will remain at United beyond next summer despite the lavish new five-year contract signed just weeks ago.
With the ink on Rooney’s contract barely dry it is perhaps odd to begin a countdown on the player’s eventual exit but little in this sorry saga handcuffs the striker to United. If anything United supporters are more aware than ever that Rooney is tied to the club by economics alone.
Indeed, Rooney’s contract is perhaps a short-term marriage of convenience. After all, United is desperately short of creativity and Rooney short of form, confidence and minutes in recent months.
Perhaps more importantly for United’s management the asset will not be lost at less than its true value. Doubling Rooney’s salary might have cost the club an additional £5 million a season in wages but it is a small price to pay both to boost United’s short-term success and protect the club’s financial interests. After all, United faced the very real prospect of accepting a knock-down price on its star player had Rooney entered the final year of his old deal.
On the flip side, United also needs Rooney to recreate the form of last winter, when at times the striker was – to coin a cliché – unplayable. That has not been the case since March, of course.
In the meantime, United remains unbeaten in 26 matches but a series of unconvincing performances, especially but not limited to those fixtures on the road, have resulted in seven draws this season. The palpable lack of creativity at times is shocking not only because it is not the ‘United way’ but that the problem has been earmarked for more than two years.
It is not aided by Dimitar Berbatov’s two-month long fall from grace. The Bulgarian’s outstanding start to the season has now given way to the humdrum performances that have so-clouded the £30 million striker during his two-year stint in Manchester. Brilliant at times but seemingly not able to carry the side through a difficult spell.
In the immediate term, Rooney is expected to reclaim his place in the United side, if not for Wigan’s visit to Old Trafford, then perhaps the trip to Glasgow next week. United need the former Evertonian to hit the ground running.
“Will Rooney play next weekend? We will have a look at Wayne. He is back in the country. We will have a look at him and then we will build towards next weekend,” said assistant manager Mike Phelan over the weekend.
“He has trained very well. The exercise that we have put in place for him has worked well. Wayne has been doing really well.
“He has been training really hard, working morning and afternoon. Our people out there who are looking after him have been really pleased with his attitude and approach.
“We will see where he is at on Monday but we think he will have improved immensely.”
Yet Phelan is not the man to be convinced, either about Rooney’s form or the player’s true commitment to the cause. Telling then that Ferguson should be so dismissive over Rooney’s chances of playing in England’s friendly with France on Wednesday night.
“He can only be available if he’s fit – and he’s not fit,” said the United manager. This coming before Rooney had even returned to Carrington for fitness assessments this morning.
It’s a common assessment from Ferguson this season and one that has not always been shared by the player. Indeed, the Scot’s refrain has normally been used to take Rooney out of the firing line. When it failed, Ferguson sent the player 5,000 miles away from the prying eyes of the English media.
If Ferguson’s words hint at a lingering tension that is not masked by the smiling photos syndicated – at a cost of £300 each – by the club shortly after Rooney put pen to paper in October then that can be no surprise. The manager is undisputed boss at Old Trafford and few if any players in Ferguson’s 24-year association with United have undermined that fact quite as strongly as Rooney.
That only Cristiano Ronaldo has left the club at a time not of Ferguson’s choosing cannot be underestimated. Even the Portuguese was made to wait three years for a move. Yet, should Rooney not quickly fall back into line his time at Old Trafford will surely be short indeed.
Ferguson’s expert use of the media not only quickly led to the player’s vilification as a mercenary but almost certainly pressured the Rooney into signing.
Reports that some of United’s squad is less than happy with Rooney’s attitude remain. That Ferguson made the player apologise to his team-mates was not only humiliating but necessary. If he didn’t before, the player certainly knows who controls his destiny now.
But Ferguson the pragmatist will also welcome back Rooney into the fold so long as it suits his immediate needs.
“Wayne’s had a good week,” Ferguson told the Manchester Evening News today.
“He’s trained very hard, two days two sessions, three days three sessions, we’ve achieved what we wanted to achieve.”
Which was not only increased fitness but a close eye on both Rooney’s behaviour and diet according to reports. And after watching Berbatov and Hernández struggle at Aston Villa over the weekend, Rooney’s week might just get better next Saturday.
United needs him but for how long is still open to question.
33 thoughts on “Rooney back with no guarantees”
a lot of ranters on here were crying out for rooney to get a rest. the injury at the end of last season which we are led to believe never got fixed and contributed to a woeful display at the WC. coupled with certain psychological issues, they have taken their toll.
i’m certainly looking at this as a positive, by all accounts he has been training hard and well and we hear is desparate to get on with the season, which can only be good.
fergie has always used players until the point where someone else can add better value so that is no different but if this episode turns rooney back into the force of nature that he was and know he can be, then it is positive for player and club (and country).
everyone deserves a second chance – he of all players needs “managing” – and we hope he has turned a corner. we need him.
Very interesting to see how this goes.
I’ve honestly got no idea if Rooney will be here till January, till the summer or till 2015!
If he wants to win back the support form United fans, should he play on Saturday, only a DIE HARD attitude will do.
He also needs to show that he is genuienly sorry for his recent tantrums and that he really want’s to stay. If not, then let him rot in reserves and sell him in January to the highest bidder (excluding Shitty)!!!!
I know city fans who are still convinced rooney will be there player by the summer and that’s what fergies comment to rooney about treating the club with respect even if you want to go were about, sign the deal so the club atleast gets a fair price
albeit I know other people convinced this was all a brilliant scheme by rooney and fergie to get money out the glazers
rooney back in starting line up on sat vs Wigan … whether he will be any good is another question, but i bet he starts.
Like it or not we need Rooney, he’s unplayable on his day, and are most creative player, berbatov is hit and miss, you definitely can’t rely on him to get you out of a hole. And until we buy a creative midfielder, we need Rooney and when Rooney has a creative midfielder behind him pulling the strings, two excellent wingers in Nani & Valencia and Hernandez beside him we will be unplayable. And deep down I think he wants to be at united he just wants a few big name signings, let’s face it I haven’t felt exited about a united signing since berbatov, and he was a flop!
he needs to score more than a few goals to get united support back on his side. expect jeers from old trafford vs wigan
I can’t be assed to get into this drama again. If he is fit then let him play and play well. The fellow has gotten the money he was after so he might as well deliver. Enough of the faffing about. He is also injury prone is our wayne – like Rio and quite unlike Ronaldo.
He needs to deliver performances and titles. Ronaldo did. He believes he is on the same level as the Portuguese, well Englisher, show us. Prove it and get your fat arse off the treatment table!!
I think keeping Rooney, was just self serving by the Glazers.
They were never going to get Rooneys full value, with only 1 year left on his contract… and had they lost him, they might have faced a very serious backlash from fans that, they are only just managing to placate with spin and lies… the alternative would have been to dig deep and puy a player of similar value… and there’s only a handfull of players in the world as valuable as Rooney… none of them English.
I don’t think the Glazers could afford to lose Rooney… but now that they’ve portrayed him as a want away mercenary… and extended his contract…. they could probably get rid of him in the summer, blame him for the move, NOT replace him, spinning our current mantra of “signing only young potential”.
I’m still really pissed off with Rooney… but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he hasn’t become a pawn in the Glazers manipulation of the fans.
I swear… if I thought it would work, I’d go on a hunger strike to get rid of them… I hate them that much.
Let’s swap Rooney for Ronaldo.
Send Rooney and Berbatov packing! No wonder United scouts are tracking Porto striker 24 year old Givanildo Vieira de Souza, better known as “The HULK”. Big guy, has scored 37 goals in 43 games. Just looking at him scares defenders. I don’t even think the Glazers are even football fans. They probably don’t even know the rules of football. Whats their reason to buy the club? Where they willing to invest money in the club or did they just buy the club to show off? Whats your take on Andy Carroll and Jay Bothroyd?
If he plays on Sat, I hope the home crowd dont give Wayne to much stick.
As for now he`s a United player and you don`t boo on your own players. Leave that for the gooners (Eboue) and Liverpool (Poulsen).
He made a mistake so lets give him a chance and see if he makes up or it.
Fergie as well has put much blame on the agent and tells us to get on with the whole drama behind all of this.
If things are happening behind the curtains I trust SAF is handling it all in the best matter for United.
In terms of what United have delivered so far this season we really do need Rooney back on the pitch delivering as well, that`s for sure.
It will be interesting to see if he ever does recover that never say die attitude that he epitomised.
“Marriage of convenience” sounds about right. Even if fans do forgive his behaviour, and they probably will (such is the fickle nature of supporting a team), they will never forget the shoddy way he treated the club, his team-mates and the manager.
He can never be a United legend and there’s no way he’ll be there for 5 years. I’m sure Fergie has been instructing the scouts to look out for alternatives.
Yes, the scouts seem to be very busy looking at players.
SAF must realize he has to srenghten the squad with quality players if he wants to get positive results. Its okay to be talking about Wellbeck, Cleverley and Diouf, these are players for the future, but he needs to bring in proven and experienced players for now to get the results and win trophies.
The trouble is we all thought we could trust Wayne; now no one can. If you believe he is up there with Messi & Ronaldo, they are both scoring at an average of a goal a game, regardless he owes us a few. The next few weeks before Christmas are going to tell us about the “new Wayne”; who knows, perhaps he doesn’t? If SAF sorts out two centrak midfielders who can play, with a bit of speed & passion -not Scholes or Giggs- we are in with a shout; if not we’re sunk.
This midfield problem has been going on far too long.
A good manager would pick out that problem after one game and sort that out by the next game. This seems to be going on for a year or two. You keep hearing the midfielders did not play well today. They did not play well because they are just not good enough and quality replacements need to be brought in.
the midfields been a problem since keanes legs went in 2002
To be fair the midfield won three PLs on the trot, the CL, and got to another CL final. It’s not nearly as good as I want it to be, but it’s also not nearly as bad as people say.
the best attack and back five in the world did a great job of hiding it
and fergie got lucky with scholes playing out of his skin the first year
I don’t know how far we can go in the Champions League, but looking at the whole picture in the premier league, its there for the taking. I’m sure if you guys were managing United, we would have won most of those drawn games, but yet SAF just can’t seem to get it right. If Anderson can pick up his game, that would make a big difference. Could also give Eikrem or Morrison a run out.
Breaking news guys, the Glazers are about to pay off the 220 million pounds they borrowed to purchase Man Utd on Nov.22. The story claims they don’t know where they got this money from, but its not from United holding funds.
Check the story in your newspapers including the Telegraph. I know their NFL team in the USA are having a good season, best season for years and are still in second place in their league.
i hope the fucker is actually trying to shed off a few pounds. fat bastard.
The fat cow will win us the league.
i think everyone needs to stop moaning, you think we have problems. chelsea just lost 3-0 at home to sunderland and lost their captain for ‘months’
rooney will hit form again, at some point, and when giggs and valencia are back we will look more creative.
theres still a good chance we will win the league. we are no worse than last year, if not better with additional striker in hernandez and cover at the back for wio in smalling. only missed out by a point in the end didnt we?
Rooney will be back to his best before long, but it might take a few games under his belt. He’ll be mad keen to restore fans’ faith in him, he’s too proud not to make double the effort to try and win everybody back over. We need Rooney, simple.
To be fair, a bit of stick might do him some good and make him realise that the fans who’re paying his wages deserve a little respect…
When Rooney comes back,I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if he goes on a rampage.
Why so negative? We desperately need Rooney back and back to his best. Let’s get behind him.
I don’t think Rooney wants to leave and I don’t think that either the Glazers or Ferguson want to sell him. Let’s not shoot ourselves in the foot over this and create a crisis where there isn’t one.
If Rooney comes out of the blocks all cylinders firing and bang he’s got a hat-trick on the scoreboard, then okay you would see for sure that his heart and dedication is Man Utd. But if he comes out and looks or plays the same as he did when the season started, forget it!
Iam sure all the fans want to see the old Rooney, even if he does not score, as long as he plays like we know he can play. Anything less will only cause fans to chant him off the pitch.
Wayne Rooney is a lean, mean scoring machine
Wayne Rooney will return to action as a lean, mean scoring machine. The Manchester United striker lost almost half a stone during his American boot camp visit. Rooney, 25, arrived back in Britain at the weekend after a week’s rehabilitation on his ankle injury at Nike’s Portland headquarters. And he looked a far trimmer version of the hitman who terrorised defences last season after a five-day programme devised by his club’s fitness experts. A United source said: “It’s the talk of the place how hard Wayne was worked out there. He was far from being overweight but he is now nicely tuned up again after the extended lay-off and injury problems. The gaffer and his staff knew exactly what they were doing and now they are expecting it to pay rich rewards.”
Phil Thomas, The Sun
I think this is perfect- a complete overhaul, physically (7 lbs/ half a stone lighter!)and more importantly, mentally. With all the sh1t that’s been on him since the end of last season, I think it was wise for SAF to get him out of there for a while. Lord knows our front line needs him back at his best.
As for the contract saga, I honestly think he was mostly manipulated by Paul Stretford. Think about it: this is the player who by all accounts is always frothing at the bit to play football, fully fit or not; this is also the Crocky-born lad whose life is football. You think he’s got the capitalist, 21st centry business nous to pull this off. As in all dubious business, follow the money. How much did Stretford commision? Who could have made Rooney change his mind in the summer so quickly.
I’m just glad Rooney’s back. Sadly, the days of local players who are one-club men may die with Scholes. As for my Dad’s lamenting of the new EPL, does anyone ever expect to see a top-flight club put out a starting 11 with palyers from the same country let alone same city?
Top, top site btw
oh, “You think he’s got the capitalist, 21st centry business nous to pull this off.” was meant to be a rhetorical question, not an accusation