Wayne Rooney has revealed the reason why he was unsettled at Manchester United last season was because he had been played in midfield by former manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
A couple of years earlier he claimed he wanted to leave the club after feeling they weren’t ambitious enough. United later signed the best player in the league, Robin van Persie, meaning he was no longer a vital part of the squad.
He was played out of positions on a couple of occasions and did well when in midfield, but has claimed now, after keeping quiet all summer, that failure to play him up front is what lead to his unhappiness.
“Everyone at the club knew where I wanted to play and I think that’s why I was disappointed,” said Rooney. “I got told to play in midfield and I didn’t want to. I just think there had to come a point when, for my own career, I had to be a bit selfish really. I actually felt when I played in midfield I did OK, but I didn’t want to play there. I’ve had no problem in the past playing out of position. But I felt I deserved the right to play in my position and that wasn’t happening. I think, naturally, I was a bit disappointed and maybe that affected some of the games I played. I know myself that last year wasn’t my best season but there were times when I was playing in different positions. I didn’t feel I got a consistent run of games up front. Sometimes when you’re not playing in one position all the time it’s difficult to adapt.”
Whilst idealistic fans would like to believe that any player should be grateful to wear our shirt and play wherever the manager asked him to, that just isn’t reality any more.
Whilst I haven’t been shy in expressing my frustration with Rooney’s behaviour, I believe he is entitled to play for a club that plays him in his preferred position. He’s no Van Persie, but he could walk in to the starting XI at clubs like Chelsea and Arsenal in a striker role, so if he believed he was set to be used in midfield, there is sense behind him wanting a move.
The problem with this is that, despite Rooney’s claims, he hardly ever played in midfield last season. He spent most of the season in his preferred position, behind the striker. He relinquished penalty taking duties after missing a few and equalled his lowest goal tally since joining the club.
After playing in midfield for our 3-0 win over Newcastle, Rooney took to Twitter to talk about how much he enjoyed his new role.
Rooney’s job now is damage limitation and after getting away with trying to leave the club this summer, with reds greeting him warmly at both home and away games, he now has to come up with any excuse he can to try and smooth things over, particularly if he is to sign a new contract that United are reportedly going to offer him.
“I’m sure the club made that clear,” Rooney continued. “Obviously there’s been a lot of stuff happening and everyone has been waiting for me to say something, but I’ve spoken to the people who matter at the club and we’ve known ourselves what was going on. I didn’t want to come out saying anything. I just wanted to concentrate on my football. That’s what I’ve done and that’s what I’ll continue to do. I’m not going to go around saying: ‘I wanted to stay’ or ‘I wanted to leave’. I’ll concentrate on my football and see what happens after that. You can see I’m playing and I’m happy in my football. I’ll have more discussions with the club and we’ll see what happens from there.”
The RoM 2018-19 Season Preview is available for just £6. It includes an EXCLUSIVE interview with Juan Mata, a Q&A with the country's top journalists, articles by brilliant United writers, and so much more. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.