It is hard to imagine Rooney strolling down the Castellana, immersing himself in the language and enjoying the studious environment of a dressing room like Real Madrid’s. Donde El Banter? Perhaps Manchester United’s unsettled striker should have a quiet word with Michael Owen to gain a clearer picture of what it’s like abroad. It’s not simply a land of silk and money.
Perhaps Rooney should stand back and analyse properly the momentous step he is taking by saying he will not re-sign with United.
For a man who’s only 24, Rooney gives a very good impersonation of somebody experiencing a premature mid-life crisis, having embarrassed his family and employers in recent weeks. As with his domestic arrangements, Rooney needs to think very carefully before severing his hitherto productive partnership with Sir Alex Ferguson.
In the epic Rooney-Ferguson stand-off, some sympathy must exist for the striker, particularly over the United manager’s damaging refusal to play him at Goodison Park on Sept 11.
Coming in the wake of distasteful revelations about Rooney’s private proclivities it seemed that Ferguson did not feel his No 10 possessed the backbone to deal with Gwladys Street glee club. For a naturally combative former Evertonian this was particularly humiliating. Rooney could also be forgiven for glancing around the United dressing room and wondering where all the trophy-winning class is.
But then he should look at the manager, at Ferguson, at the rock on which United’s modern greatness has been built. Rooney should accept the challenge of reviving United’s fortunes, on helping Ferguson bring through another generation. He could earn more money elsewhere, but would he enjoy it? He’s a multi-millionaire anyway. Would he find such a paternal manager as Ferguson?
This is the man who cares deeply for his players’ welfare, for their health. Ankle-gate has certainly been perplexing. After England’s Oct 12 draw with Montenegro, Rooney insisted he had been fit all season, a comment at odds with Ferguson’s appraisal and also the player’s own admission to Sky on Oct 2.
The transcript includes: Interviewer: “What’s the situation with your fitness?’’ Rooney: “I’ve had a bit of a knock since the Rangers game but I’ve been for a scan and the scan’s given me the all-clear.’’ Bang goes the “fit all season’’ theory.
For those of us with a soft spot for Rooney, admiring his technique and essentially likeable character, the whole saga is saddening. The pair need to sort out their differences. Both manager and star player will lose out by the collapse of their axis.
Rooney will be the bigger loser. Where does he go? Only one nation boasts football superior to the Premier League and that is Spain. Rooney’s personality seems ill-suited to an existence overseas. Admittedly, another from the “Wazza’’ mould, Paul “Gazza’’ Gascoigne survived in Rome but not without a shortage of escapades that would keep the current rolling news networks rolling madly.
The Bernabeu has been tipped as a potential destination yet Rooney, for all his playing gifts, does not seem a Jose Mourinho type. From this distinguished club’s perspective, Rooney is hardly a galactico à la Cristiano Ronaldo.
Rooney would love Barcelona’s high-class pass-and-move approach but it would be a surprise if Pep Guardiola could find the space for him, except on the bench. If he is foolish enough to quit Old Trafford, Rooney will surely stay on these shores.
Yet Chelsea are a non-starter because of Roman Abramovich’s desire to trim the wage bill and the presence of Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka. He could jump over the fence into the arms of those noisy neighbours, Manchester City, but he would have to become a recluse in Cheshire.
It is difficult to imagine United countenancing actually selling him to City anyway. Besides, does Rooney fit into Roberto Mancini’s tactical 4-3-2-1 template? Does he fit into Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan’s wish for his employees to be good role models? City seem to be doing all right without Rooney.
Of course, there would be demand for the Footballer of the Year. A few poor months cannot shred a packed CV. Rooney’s prolific form will return, probably as soon as Wednesday evening against Bursaspor when Old Trafford will envelop Rooney in an emotional embrace.
Think, Wayne, before sacrificing that love.
Courtesy of Henry Winter – Football Correspondent of the Telegraph.