The Englishman handed in a contract request last month following a disappointing season with the Red Devils, one that was overshadowed by the arrival of the Premier League’s top scorer Robin van Persie.
The Dutchman took centre stage ahead of Rooney who Sir Alex Ferguson opted to move back into a deeper role closer to that of an attacking midfielder, deployed as a provider for Van Persie.
Previously, Rooney had been the club’s star striker for the last decade since his arrival from Moyes’ Everton back in 2004. It’s not something that he has been enamored with – operating as a playmaker behind Van Persie who took all the plaudits this term.
“In the years to come, that might be somewhere I could play, but, right now, I'm definitely a centre-forward. I'm after more goals,” Rooney told Four Four Two magazine.
Rooney has been up until this season regarded as one of the best strikers on the continent, probably even in the world, on a par with the likes of Van Persie. His tallies in previous seasons have been in excess of 30 goals a season and that’s the kind of standard United have come to expect of him.
However, last term he netted just 16 goals in all competitions – he was less than enthused by Ferguson’s decision to bench him for key games against Real Madrid at Old Trafford and to substitute him off in a number of fixtures this term.
Subsequently, he handed in a transfer request last month and now David Moyes may have a tough decision to make over Rooney’s future at the club – it seems he wants to play as the club’s lone centre-forward.
"I've played up front on my own a few times for Manchester United and it's a role I'm very comfortable with and have no problems playing,” he said.
"When you play as a target man, you have to stay up front and help the team out by holding the ball up and waiting for support. That all comes with experience.”
"It's a good role for me to play, and hopefully I can continue doing well there," he added.
The problem is, as Ferguson recently implied, is that Rooney’s form hasn’t been sufficient enough to warrant a role as a lone striker ahead of Van Persie – Wayne Rooney back in his prime of 2009/10 would have walked into the team but since Van Persie’s arrival that is no longer the case.
If he offers Moyes an ultimatum, effectively ‘play me up front, or I’ll leave’ Moyes will likely have to choose the latter – Rooney’s status at the club has changed and his reluctance to sign a new contract is a worry for the club.
Rooney won’t be able to hold the club to ransom over his contract like he did last time around – the truth of the matter is, he’s not as indispensable to the club as he used to be. Manchester United have other options now and Rooney’s hand is weakened substantially since the arrival of Van Persie.
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