Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed yesterday that Wayne Rooney had asked to leave Manchester United for the second time in two years. He was promptly left out of the squad to play Swansea City, which was not punishment but room for the striker to think.
Ferguson bows out of his career at Old Trafford suggesting that he expects Rooney to stay at the club despite his transfer request and all David Moyes has to do is follow a very logical pattern when he takes over at Old Trafford.
He has to show straight away that he’s interested in sorting the matter out because United will be a better team next season if they manage to keep Rooney as opposed to selling him.
Moyes and Rooney do have history, but it’s very important for the new boss to show that he’s over that and is prepared to make concessions and listen to Rooney’s concerns to keep him at United.
It may all be about position with Ferguson having used Rooney in a midfield role in the last couple of months, which doesn’t seem to have suited him or his natural style of play.
He’s been effective in that midfield role but it doesn’t detract from the fact that Rooney hasn’t looked very happy when he’s been asked to play there.
Professional footballers are egotistical individuals and another way Moyes can keep Rooney at Old Trafford is by stroking his ego a little bit.
That means giving him the chances to lead the attack, giving him some extra responsibility in the dressing room and considering accepting the demands he has to stay at the club.
As long as none of the above causes a problem for Moyes in the respect of Rooney toeing the line, it shouldn’t be a problem for the two parties to work out some sort of mutual agreement.
Moyes must already have in the back of his mind how he is going to work the current United squad into the various systems and tactics that he has planned and it’s important they retain two heavyweight players at the top of the attack.
Rooney is a superb football player and no other member of the current United first team has the same passion and work rate whether he’s playing in the defence, central midfield or leading the strike force.
So the job for Moyes is talk to him quickly, allay any fears he may have over his role and find a system which best gives Rooney the chance to do what he does best which is score goals for fun and become a real problem for the opposition.
How do you think Moyes should approach dealing with Rooney?
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