The Manchester United legend’s remarks following his retirement after 26 years at Old Trafford sparked controversies, especially over the form, fitness and happiness of Wayne Rooney at the club.
It’s unfortunate timing, given that Rooney has been firing on all cylinders and back to his best under David Moyes after a turbulent summer contract and transfer saga off the back of an inconsistent season last term.
For both club and country, Rooney has been performing very well of late, but how will Ferguson’s revelations affect the England number 10 going forward? The boss who brought him to Old Trafford from Moyes’ custody at Everton set the record straight in his autobiography – according to the Scot, Rooney did in fact ask to leave (verbally), that he has fitness and condition issues due to his physique, and that he was unhappy at his position and status in the team.
These ‘revelations’ weren’t anything we couldn’t have guessed at already, to be perfectly honest – even though Rooney’s agent Paul Stretford repeatedly denied Rooney had asked for a transfer, Ferguson claimed the opposite at the end of last season and, in all likelihood, it was that claim that sparked the media circus that surrounded his potential transfer all summer long.
We can see perfectly well that Rooney’s physique is not as obviously and naturally athletic as, for example, Cristiano Ronaldo or Ryan Giggs and it has been clear from his performances previously that if he is not in ‘peak condition’, training every day, and playing every weekend his body responds in a different way – he gets sluggish, loses half a yard of pace, his first touch starts to evade him and his ability to run at defenders fades, even if only very slightly.
Given the physical limitation he has, despite being one of the world’s best players, it’s perfectly understandable that he would be concerned by not playing regularly enough and, as he has said earlier this month himself, he does not want to play in midfield – he’s a feisty, committed, aggressive, competitive guy with the kind of ego that wants the adulation of the fans at every opportunity, he wants to score goals and be the top striker at the club.
With the arrival of Robin van Persie last summer, his status as exactly that inevitably changed – the Dutchman was the star of the show last term. Wayne Rooney became a sideshow in almost every sense.
How will Ferguson’s remarks affect him then? A player of his stature is used to people talking about him – he’s used to being discussed and scrutinised for both club and, even more so, due to the pressures, demands, and media glare due to his England commitments.
He’s had his personal life splashed across the red tops before, he’s had his earnings discussed, everything in his life is public property and he still puts his boots on and goes and does what he does best; plays football and scores goals.
Provided he has a platform to do what he obviously loves which, it looks as though he has under Moyes at United, I very much doubt he’ll lose any sleep over the comments of his old coach who he surely is very grateful to and respectful of in general.
image: © nasmac