It is not new for Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to be involved in convoluted, souring relationships with his star players, but this most recent twisted tale with Wayne Rooney is possibly the most bizarre to date. The outrageously decorated Red Devils boss firstly claimed that Rooney was left out of the game at Everton on September 11 to protect him from a barrage of abuse by the Toffee fans. It is more likely, however, that he was dropped and made an example of following salacious allegations in the tabloids about his private life.
Not even Rooney is granted impunity if he behaves despicably and brings Manchester United’s name into disrepute whilst Sir Alex holds the reigns. At least that seemed to be the message.
Since then, Ferguson has claimed Rooney will not play certain games due to an ankle injury. Rooney then effectively called his manager a fibber by insisting he has not missed a single training session, and that he has been fine the whole time. Today his manager has revealed he does not understand why Rooney said he has never been less than match fit, and that his star player does not wish to sign a new contract. It is clearly a ludicrously tangled tale of deceit, discrepancies and confusion between player, manager and media.
The crux of the whole affair now is to examine why Rooney would want to leave a highly successful club and one of the most paternal, helpful and inspiring managers in football history. If his reason is that he has grown to dislike Ferguson’s ways, then he could be a man and request a meeting with him to sort out their differences instead of sulking, contradicting him and refusing to talk about a new contract.
Ferguson would respect that, and just like everyone else, knows an on-form and settled Rooney is vital to success. Ferguson can be ultra-childish himself, but it does not mean Rooney is allowed to be, and it certainly is no viable reason to move clubs when your manager is someone of Ferguson’s esteem.
If his motives are through greed and an insatiable desire for an astronomical weekly wage, his credibility must surely be shot to smithereens. As would it be if his reason for wanting to leave was unhappiness at not winning the Premier League last season and a poor start to this campaign.
Whatever happened to having heart, desire and determination in sport? A quest for success elsewhere when things do not turn out as you want them to shows a serious lack of heart. Maybe Ferguson, someone you definitely cannot level that accusation at, is better off without him.