On the day Manchester United lifted the trophy after a 20th league title, Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed that Wayne Rooney wanted to leave the club. The player has never denied this and spent the summer in silence, with it widely known he was keen on leaving United to play for title rivals Chelsea.
The club made it clear that he wouldn’t be sold though and Ferguson reckons that whilst Rooney’s form suffered at the end of last season, we’ve now got a newly focussed player, and hints that he deserves some of the credit for that.
“I think if Wayne walked in here today, he would shake my hand,” he said. “The day when we won the league and the winner was presented with the cup [was the last time I shook his hand]. I never fell out with him at any time, you know. Sometimes I would discipline him, but sometimes they all need discipline. Wayne is unfortunate in the sense that he is England’s big white hope. So therefore, the media is always centred around Wayne. And he has people who advise him. And I think that’s where all that’s coming from. He is back to his form and if in some way I’ve helped to bring that back, then I’ve done the right thing – made him aware that he’s a great player and we need him. When the club refused to sell him to Chelsea, he realised his only job was Manchester United. And it has brought back his focus. It’s brought back his work ethic and his purpose, and, you know, he is playing well again. I managed a team and at that particular moment [when his desire to leave was revealed], he wasn’t doing particularly well. But now we see him today, he’s got his energy back, he’s got his purpose back, and he’s doing great. So maybe that was a good turning point for the boy, you know?”