Whilst numerous players, ex-players, managers, ex-managers, and pretty much anybody remotely associated with Manchester United have come out publicly to state that Wayne Rooney should stay at Old Trafford, their players have been unusually shy on the subject.
Golden Boot winner Robin van Persie, the Red Devils’ top scorer and star striker is one who has said nothing of the sort – the Dutchman has (wisely) not passed judgment or made comment on Rooney’s future.
I’m not asserting that is because he doesn’t want Rooney to stay at United – ordinarily top players want to play with other top players – but, hypothetically, could he benefit Van Persie is Rooney does go?
No, in a word. That would be the obvious answer, at least – Rooney provided 12 goals and 10 assists in the league last term and that undoubtedly had a positive impact both on Van Persie’ Golden Boot win and United title win.
Plus, it’s not as if Van Persie was competing with Rooney – as soon as the Dutch ace arrived, he was the first-choice centre-forward without a shadow of a doubt. Rooney was clearly a little upset by this but the Dutchman really didn’t have anything to worry about – in the big games, he was picked. It was simple and easy and the only time he graced the bench was when he was being rested for bigger games.
However, with Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure and David Moyes’ subsequent arrival to take the reigns, that could change. I highly doubt it, but Moyes has worked with Rooney before and he might opt to change the system up a bit but I still doubt any manager in their right mind would leave a player as decisive as Van Persie out of the team if he could help it.
The again, though, you have to consider the egos we’re talking about here – Van Persie is a player who wants to be the star of the show and Rooney is the same if not more so.
I’m sure when Van Persie was at Arsenal, he loved being the star and taking all the plaudits and the limelight but, ultimately, he wasn’t happy with just that – he wanted to win trophies and the fact of the matter is that Manchester United are more likely to win trophies if Wayne Rooney stays than if he goes, especially if it’s to a direct rival like Chelsea.
Whilst the senior players at United may not be best impressed with Wayne Rooney at present, there must be an admission that without him in the team and at the club, they are in a worse position – both on the pitch and commercially. Then again, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck might feel a little differently.
image: © nasmac