by Stuart Moriarty-Patten
Wayne Rooney’s stunning revelation in his autobiography, currently being serialised in the Daily Mirror, that he puts on weight easily would have come as no surprise who watched him lumbering around the pitch in Man United’s first game of the season against Everton.
Following that poor first game against Everton and his relegation to the subs’ bench for the following game against Fulham the rumours that Wayne Rooney will be leaving Man United have been growing steadily by the day, and even though the transfer window may have closed, there are still those thinking that in the January transfer window Rooney could yet be leaving. It could be that while everyone was thinking Rooney and van Persie would be a dream partnership, Ferguson was instead seeing van Persie and the impressive Shinji Kagawa as his ideal pairing, with Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez providing more than adequate support.
Ferguson has always stated that no single player is bigger than the club, and he has certainly demonstrated in the past that he has no qualms in getting rid of players he thinks no longer have their eye on the ball. He showed his ruthless streak when he felt that his previously beloved captain Roy Keane had spoken out of turn by crticising his team mates on MUTV and was quickly shipped off to Celtic. Reputation counts for nothing with Fergie, and Jaap Staam, David Beckham and Ruud van Nistelrooy have all famously been shown the Old Trafford exit door after Ferguson decided that his side was better off without them, no matter how good they were. Even when he first took over at Man United he showed that no one player was bigger than Man United when he broke up what he perceived as a damaging drinking culture at the heart of the club and shipped out crowd favourites Paul McGrath and Norman Whiteside.
There has been talk that despite all the praise he lavished on Rooney at the time, Fergie never really forgave Rooney for his threat to leave two years ago, and their relationship was further damaged around Christmas time last year when Ferguson explicitly told his players not to drink over the festive season, but Rooney turned up to training allegedly slightly worse for wear. Ferguson fined Rooney a week’s wages, and left him out for the New Year’s Eve game against Blackburn Rovers, a game which Man United lost, and pulled him off when he was performing poorly in the next game, another defeat this time against Newcastle. A run of good form following that may have quelled the Ferguson fire slightly, but there have been newspaper reports that Ferguson has barely spoke to his striker since the return from the close season break, and in that performance in United’s opening fixture Rooney looked unfit and slightly overweight and it has been suggested that his drinking and smoking lifestyle is slowly catching up with him.
Rooney has been on Twitter denying the rumours about his exit, and Ferguson, while silent on the matter, did make the following comment in his notes in the match programme for the Fulham game “If I hear a player has fallen out of love with us, and is looking elsewhere, I invariably help them out of the door.” We can only speculate that that was aimed at Rooney, but it’s easy to make the connection, particularly as in the same column he heaped praise on van Persie’s desire to play for Man United.
If Rooney really has lost the trust and support of Ferguson, history suggests that Rooney should start packing his boots now. Unless of course Rooney can use the challenge to his position and status in the club bought about by the signings of Van Persie and Kagawa to make him strive to show Fergie that Man United really can’t do without him.