The England number 10 has just had one of his poorest seasons in a Red Devils shirt since his arrival back in 2004, but new United boss David Moyes, along with chief executive Ed Woodward, have dismissed suggestions the striker will be allowed to leave this summer.
With the arrival of Robin van Persie from Arsenal last summer, Rooney’s role in the team and, to an extent, within the club, changed – he went from being the star centre-forward to being the supporting striker and a playmaker supplying the Dutch ace. Last season, it was all about Van Persie.
Rooney spent more time on the bench last term than ever before, and his form and fitness was recurrently concern throughout the season.
With Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal and Chelsea all understood to be interested in luring him away from Old Trafford, Moyes took a tough stance on the matter and insisted he was still required as ‘cover’ for Van Persie.
Rooney has yet to agree a new contract with the club, and his current deal expires in 2 years. Last time around, when Rooney was posturing over a contract renewal in 2010, the fans, the manager and the club forgave him once he put pen to paper and re-committed himself to the club.
Furthermore, it was easier to forgive the club’s star striker and top goal scorer, especially when he started scoring goals again. But will it be as easy for them to forgive him this time around if he does stay put ?
Generally speaking, in football if the player is playing well, the fans can forgive just about anything – look at the likes of John Terry at Chelsea or Luis Suarez at Liverpool. Fans and managers stand by their best players, even if the player in question behaves unforgivably.
However, with the change in his status at the club - now behind Van Persie in every sense - will the fans be as inclined to kiss and make up with him ? If he does remain at Old Trafford next season, he’s going to have to go above and beyond to show he’s committed and faithful to the club; he’s going to have to show a willingness to perform, even if he’s benched or played out of his preferred position.
But has Rooney got that in him ?
image: © jubei kibagami