You could be forgiven for thinking that the last 12 months have been the most miserable in the life of England’s young striker Wayne Rooney. An ankle injury at the end of last season forced him out of the UEFA Champions League tie against Bayern Munich, and as a result, led to a period of inactivity leading up the World Cup Finals in South Africa. A torrid performance from England punctuated by some of his own worst run of form, produced a frustrating summer. Things got worse as his private life was splashed all over the British tabloids when his jaunts with expensive call girls made good reading with tea and crumpets. If that wasn’t bad enough, rumors out of Old Trafford last weekend suggested that Rooney has refused to sign a new contract and that, due to a rift with Alex Ferguson, his future at the club has come to an end. Today, confirmation came from the old man himself that the so-called “wonder-boy” wants out.
To make sense of this, we have to look not at Rooney, but at the club and the manager. Wayne Rooney is not the first megastar to fall out of favor at Old Trafford. The belief at the club is that no one player is bigger than the club itself, and the manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, enforces that policy with an iron fist. Time and time again over the course of his reign, top players have been run out of the club after falling foul of the Scottish icon. Rooney’s fatal mistake last week was to claim that he has not been injured with a bad ankle this season, which directly contradicts what his manager has been quoted as saying.
Rooney falls into that category of players that don’t engage their brain before they speak. Jaap Staam, David Beckham, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and to a lesser degree Christiano Ronaldo have all made that same miscalculation and have paid dearly as a result. What is interesting, is that for all those players, their careers took a serious downturn once they left Old Trafford, and Rooney is about to do the same.
The ironical part about this situation is that Ferguson tries to protect his younger players by shielding them from the glare of the media, and Rooney is no exception. The problem is that the players themselves can’t toe the line and as a result are shepherded out PDQ. They get no sympathy whatsoever from the fans who know what the deal is, and just like Beckham’s exit, they know that success without that player is just around the corner.
I’d like to say that these rumors have no substance, because I think that the Scouser is a great talent but if I were you, Wayne, I’d be on the phone to Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea or Man City because at the end of this season, you won’t be wearing a Red shirt anymore, and if United are 10 points or more behind Chelsea at Christmas, you could be gone sooner.