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Ferguson To Teach Rooney An Important Lesson?

Ahead of Manchester United’s 1-0 victory over Wolves, which was a hard fought affair that we came close to drawing, Sir Alex Ferguson was critical of our star player, Wayne Rooney. After struggling for fitness three days earlier in the League Cup final, and seeing team mate Michael Owen pick up an injury on the disgraceful pitch, Rooney played 86 minutes for England in a friendly, on that same dodgy pitch.

“Playing on that pitch for almost an hour on Sunday and then almost the full 90 minutes on the Wednesday, it’s far too much,” Ferguson said. “I was disappointed more with Wayne. He didn’t come off, I couldn’t believe it. He should have signalled to the bench he wanted to come off. I don’t blame Fabio Capello at all – but don’t forget he was not supposed to be playing at all. That’s what Wayne told us on Sunday because he was feeling his knee. Then all of a sudden people put an arm round his shoulder and he wants to play. I don’t think he should have played. His own enthusiasm has caused it. He can’t say ‘No’, that’s his problem.”

Rooney didn’t even travel to Wolves and in the tunnel before kick-off, Ferguson revealed that our striker might be crocked for the second leg of the AC Milan game.

It is Rooney’s two goals at the San Siro which has put us in such a favourable position for Wednesday, and it is his 23 Premiership goals that meant we could go top of the table in his absence after beating Wolves. There is no denying what a vital part of this team he is and his ability, work rate and passion make him a fans’ favourite.

But why on earth are we in a position that we could be without our best player for our most important game of the season so far? For the sake of a fucking International friendly? It’s pathetic. Aside from the fact United’s league title should be more important to Rooney than any game for England the moment, it would do Rooney good to remember who pays his wages. It would do Rooney good to remember that if there is any player who is guaranteed a spot on that plane to South Africa in the summer, it is him, and he has no need to impress Capello further.

Whilst we love that he loves to play the game, he does have to engage brain sometimes. He’s not some little kid who doesn’t understand the implications of being unavailable for his club.

So, what is Ferguson going to do? Usually I imagine he would play Rooney with a little niggle, obviously aware of how important he is to our success. But is he going to teach him an important lesson? Want to play 86 minutes in an England friendly on a shit pitch when you’re carrying an injury? Fine, but then you won’t get to play for United against AC Milan.

I’m not suggesting Ferguson should cut off his nose to spite his face here. We’re a better team with Rooney than we are without, that is obvious, and whilst we’re in a very good position going in to the Milan game, we’re not untouchable. But I also think Rooney needs to get his priorities straight sooner or later and realise he can’t play in every single game. We’re without Owen for the rest of the season now, Berbatov has been playing with a knee injury for most of the season (and it still looked to be causing him trouble at Wembley last week)  and can’t afford another injury up front, particularly not to Wayne.

The more worrying point though might be that Ferguson doesn’t have a choice in whether he can play him or not, as it may not be just a niggle anymore.

I’ve heard people say that Ferguson is the one at fault here for not having appropriate cover, but Rooney, Berbatov, Owen and Diouf would have been good enough cover for the remaining 9 games of the season. There is no replacement for Rooney. Who do Arsenal have as cover for Fabregas? Who do Chelsea have as cover for Drogba? Who do Liverpool have as cover for Torres? Some players are just too good to have anything like an appropriate replacement.

Rooney is too good and we love him for it but now until the end of the season is going to be a right scrap, and after the horrendous defensive injuries we’ve suffered this season we simply cannot afford to go without Wayne, especially not for the sake of an International friendly.

Maybe if he has to watch the Milan game from the sidelines he won’t be putting United, and himself, in this situation again in the future.

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About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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162 Comments

  1. Rooney22United says:

    Out of all the recent seasons, this is probably the worst for United squad-wise. After selling the World’s Best/Most Expensive Player, and a never constant defense.. it is hard to complain about anything. 1st in the League, good chances of advancing to the next round of the CL, Carling cup in the bag… who said United were on the way down. THE UNITED EMPIRE LIVES!!! Fuck the ABUS. N i wish Rooney was not so much of a patriot (footballing wise).

  2. Bob Koh says:

    Imagine we’re 0-2 down to Milan on Wed with 10mins to go & Sir Alex has still-injured Rooney & Diouf left on the bench.Who’ll he bring on?

  3. Dave Mack says:

    Thanks @Marq … while not a big fan of the Mail that article illustrates everything that shows the so called ” Red Knights” to be nothing more than a comic bunch of “Thieves in the Night” .

    And don’t let us forget MUST gave them their backing. Which of course led SCOTT the red to support them in turn. It’s an important reminder to us all……

    DON”T LET OUTSIDE INTERESTS USE YOUR LOVE OF UNITED TO DESTABILIZE THIS GREAT CLUB.

    LU – IFIT

  4. NotoriousRedDevil says:

    Every year we’re finished. Thats it. Player A is wank. Player B is past it. Time and time again we prove them wrong and when we win the league they copy and paste what was written in 1993 and just change the players names and games. When you confront these “intelligent” football fans we’re only where we are because of refs, other teams being rubbish & the money we have.

    Quite frankly this year (just like other years but definetely more so this year) the ABUs don’t have a leg to stand on. If we win the league which I’m positive about it will be a copy and paste job from the media. If we don’t and chelski win it (don’t see l’arse winning it) it will be the greatest title victory ever and we’re “finished” again.

    The hell with the defence we’ve not even had a settled team all year and look where we are.

  5. Rooney22United says:

    Bob! What the heck mate, United would not get in such a situation!!!

  6. King Eric says:

    NotoriousRedDevil – Absolutely bang on pal. Could not agree more. If I were the Chav’s or Arsenal and United do win it again (which I am convinced we will) then they should panic. To all intents and purposes this is a transitional team. The fact a team in transation may win it does not bode well for the other teams as when the team IS fully settled we will be unstoppable again.

  7. cantona7 says:

    I tell you what: there is only one manager that can teach Wayne Rooney this small but very important lesson, and still going on for the league and CL at the same time. Sir Alex for you.

    I would love to lose and get thrashed out of this season’s CL by Milan, if SAF can get Rooney to learn from this.

    IN FERGIE WE TRUST

  8. lucasthebest says:

    I hate that international break! Useless!

    For what use from these breaks!! Absolute nothing… no matter what Wayne try for England Team… England will always end up out of competition without winning..!! Same old story over and over again…!

    Save your energy , Wayne… use it for somewhere you can lift trophy..

  9. denton davey says:

    King Eric @ 16:36: “If I were the Chav’s or Arsenal and United do win it again (which I am convinced we will) then they should panic. To all intents and purposes this is a transitional team. The fact a team in transation may win it does not bode well for the other teams as when the team IS fully settled we will be unstoppable again.”

    THAT, my friend, is something we can agree on. This has been a spluttering, stuttering season – very few convincing displays and lots of finger-biting – but, still…..

    I do have some reservations/questions about your suggestion is exactly what the team-in-transition is moving towards.

    Are you suggesting that VDS, RedNev, Vidic, Berbatov, Giggs, and Scholes are going to get pink-slipped ?

    Are you thinking that KikoTheKid and Paul Pogba and some of the other hot-shots like Ravel Morrison will be part of the first-team next year ?

    Are you suggesting that Anderson and Nani will finally come good on a consistent basis ?

    Do you think that UTD will buy BIG in the summer ?

    Finally, do you think that SAF will be in the manager’s chair if everything comes good in the next three months ?

    I know that these questions – and others – are bubbling in my mind and I would imagine that other FanaticalReds are probably thinking similar thoughts. Right now, these issues are lurking in the back of our minds because there’s a game to be played tomorrow. Still, it’s good to know that UTD – like rust – never sleeps.

  10. King Eric says:

    denton – Hello mate, I will give my views on each of your points raised.

    1) “Are you suggesting that VDS, RedNev, Vidic, Berbatov, Giggs, and Scholes are going to get pink-slipped “?
    No not at all, Maybe Nev and even Scholes but really hope not.

    2)”Are you thinking that KikoTheKid and Paul Pogba and some of the other hot-shots like Ravel Morrison will be part of the first-team next year2 ?

    Kiko hopefully mate yes but Morrison and Pogba are a way off yet denton but players like Cleverley, Diouf and Cathcart et al may get first team action.

    3) “Are you suggesting that Anderson and Nani will finally come good on a consistent basis ?”

    I am bloody optimistic yes however Anderson won’t be back till October time. Lets hope Nani can get a decent run on the right in certain games and cement a place but Valencia gets better and better. We may look still at Di Maria.

    4) “Do you think that UTD will buy BIG in the summer” ?

    Not hugely mate no. I have a sneaky feeling we may go for Rodwell but who knows? Cole is in the frame as is DiMaria. Really do not think Fergie will go for a striker. DeFour is another that can’t be ignored since the get well card from Fergie. Alot depends on the shape of Hargreaves and Scholes in the midfield. Will Gibson kick on? He has the talent but needs alot of work still.

    5) “Finally, do you think that SAF will be in the manager’s chair if everything comes good in the next three months”?

    Oh absolutely denton. Until he can’t even crawl out of OT he will still be in charge, I really hope so anyway. You only had to look at him at Wembley the other week and his desire and will to win is stronger than ever. He will be at United till that desire is no more.

    Looking at my answers you will see they are very “patchy”. None of us really know what will happen but I am sure Fergie won’t let us down. In my opinion very exciting times ahead.

  11. denton davey says:

    King Eric, I think that we are more-or-less on the same page. I’m not so sure as you that youngsters like Pogba or Morrison – or some of the others – might not just leap-frog into the mix. SAF has always shown a willingness to force-feed his “fledglings”. From what I understand, this kid Pogba has fantastic up-side potential while MOrrison seems to have the million-dollar skills and the ten-cent brain so he’s not really the kind of player who can be “projected”- kinda like Mario Balotelli at Inter who really does look like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde from minute-to-minute. I’d also like to think that your “read” on SAF is correct – the old codger (he’s even older than me !) seems to be showing no signs of slowing down.

    Right now, I’m watching TheArse come back from their away-goal deficit with ridiculous ease. That little Arshavin sure has some magic in his boots.

  12. King Eric says:

    denton – yeah watching Arsenal myself. Arsenal have played well but Porto have been poor. Cannot believe Arshavin missed that sitter, tie could be over. They will go through anyway. I hope you are right about Pogba. Is he injured at the minute as I haven’t seen him play recently? He certainly looks a real talent. Big, strong lad that will fill out, pace, ability, puts himself about and has scored some belters. Looks like in time he could run the show from midfield but may be a bit young still at 16. Certainly in the next couple of seasons.

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