What does Welbeck's performance mean for Rooney?

Danny Welbeck’s brace in Manchester United’s 4-1 win at Swansea in Saturday’s opening game of the Premier League season hints at the English youngster’s ability and potential but what does it mean for Wayne Rooney?

Wayne Rooney did not celebrate with his Red Devils’ teammates this weekend after a brace each from Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck ensured David Moyes’ first league game as United boss was a reminder for everyone of who the champions of England are.

The England number 10 started on the bench at the Liberty Stadium and came on in the second half to replace Ryan Giggs. Rooney did help out with an assists but his demeanor and attitude were the mark of a player who has lost his desire to play for his team. He didn’t appear to take any enjoyment from the game or the goals whatsoever.

Danny Welbeck and Van Persie’s contribution may make matters worse for Moyes over Rooney’s future. The boss has held his stance that Rooney is not for sale and he will not be allowed to leave, especially to strengthen a rival like Chelsea.

Rooney seemed completed dejected in the game – his concerns over first-team involvement and regular access to starts were effectively proven legitimate as both the Dutchman and Welbeck looked to have the front line covered and, once you throw Javier Hernandez into the mix, the future looks a little on the bleak side for Wayne Rooney.

Where United still lack depth and quality is in midfield where Rooney was deployed last season effectively as an attacking playmaker but Wayne Rooney has played the majority of his career as the start striker of Manchester United – he’s a former Player of the Year and the club’s top scorer. He’s the type of personality that needs the glory and the adulation that goes with the territory of being a striker.

He may well be capable and even effective as an attacking midfielder but that’s not where his heart is – he wants to be the predator in the box, not the provider for Van Persie or Welbeck.

Danny Welbeck’s two goals on Saturday – double his entire tally for last term, incidentally – couldn’t have come at a better time for David Moyes or at a worse time for Wayne Rooney.

I have a sneaking suspicion that Rooney’s posturing over a transfer was just bluff and guff to an extent – like the middle child of Manchester United, he didn’t get the attention he needed last term and he was probably just looking for a big fuss, a cuddle, and assurances he is still the main man.

Unfortunately for him, that is no longer the case. In my estimation, that’s why he didn’t celebrate the goals on Saturday – the cheers of the away fans were not for him and him alone and they haven’t been since the arrival of Van Persie, in truth. He got 28 minutes of football plus stoppage time and his junior England teammate took all the plaudits. There are fewer and fewer reasons to be cheerful for Wayne Rooney at Manchester United.

image: © gordonflood.com

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