It could have all been so different. Chelsea made big attempts to sign Wayne Rooney over the summer but David Moyes fended off those bids, working hard to convince Rooney that he didn’t need to be anywhere else.
His decision to not push for that move away from United has been vindicated because he’s playing up front, looks happy and is clearly very important to any chances of success United have this season.
Moyes appears to have done two main things which have taken all of the venom out of Rooney’s apparent alienation with the club.
Firstly, he’s playing him where he wanted to be played, up front near Robin van Persie in the attack of the side.
Rooney seems very content to be that player who roams between the top of the midfield and beyond van Persie, causing chaos for the opposition defence as they try to keep tabs on him.
He seems happy playing that role which can be assumed from his body language and the way he’s gone about his business in the last couple of fixtures for the club.
Secondly, Moyes appears to have stressed that Rooney can become the greatest goalscorer in the club’s history.
“I remember saying that he could go on to become one of the all-time greats here by his goals,” said Moyes after United’s win against Bayer Leverkusen last night.
One of Rooney’s main worries over the summer was reportedly how he was going to be perceived by fans, with doubts that he’d have the United support on his side when he started playing regularly again.
Well that all turned out to be complete nonsense because the fans yelled out Rooney’s name the first time he played competitively for the club this season.
However, it was a very clever tactic by Moyes because if Rooney can exceed the likes of Sir Bobby Charlton, Dennis Law and Jack Rowley before he retires, he’ll become even more of a legend at the club than he already is.
That ensures when his relationship with United does end in the future, it will be on extremely positive terms rather than with a bitter taste in the mouth of every United supporter.
United remain under pressure with plenty still unconvinced by the side’s potential to win trophies this season.
Rooney is staring at a season where he can be the most important player at the club, not just in terms of goals but the overall influence he has over the side and his relationship with other players.
It could end up being his best ever season in his United career.
What do you think? What’s different about Rooney this season?
image: © gordonflood.com