Wantaway Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney should stay at Old Trafford and fight for his place in the first-team alongside technically adept Dutchman Robin van Persie, according to former Chelsea assistant manager Ray Wilkins.
Chelsea have twice attempted to prise Rooney away from United but had both transfer bids - the second of which was worth £30m - rejected by their title rivals. It is expected that the Blues will return with a third fee as boss Jose Mourinho is eager to add the Englishman, capped 83 times, to his playing roster prior to the closure of the summer transfer window.
'It shouldn’t end this way, it’s getting horrible,' said Wilkins to talkSPORT on the apparent acrimonious relations developing between club and player. 'I’ve said it in the past and I’ll say it again. Once you leave Manchester United there’s only one way you’re going.
'Man United are in the top three biggest clubs on the planet, therefore they will always buy and buy and buy because they always want to be successful. If you want to win things then there’s no better club to be at than Manchester United.
'So what if you’ve got a bit of competition with Robin van Persie, it’s healthy. He should stand up to the plate and show these people what he's made of. He’s got so much wonderful football left in him.'
Rooney returned 16 goals from 37 appearances in all competitions last season, but one year before he equalled his highest ever goal tally - 34 from 44 games.
While Wilkins, who played for Chelsea for six years in the 1970s, acknowledged Rooney's form years may still be ahead of him, he rejected the notion of David Moyes selling him to a fellow English club, even if it was to go to the Blues.
'If I was David Moyes there’s no way I would sell him to anyone in England - he’d have to go abroad. I just think he’s ready for his second coming. Man United would be crazy to… sell him to one of their closest rivals.'
image: © Audrey Pilato