5 reasons why Rooney must stay at Old Trafford

by Sam Rider

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

In a footballing climate where the tribal element in the hearts of players appears to be doomed, engulfed by a tide of mercenary individuals pimping themselves out to the highest bidder, it may not be surprising to see Wayne Rooney looking around for rival offers when time comes to sign a new contract at Manchester United.

Problems have befallen him on the pitch with England and at home with his marriage yet he has brought this baggage with him to his day job at Old Trafford. He has confused this despair with a need to escape the pressures a young man raising a newly born son should not have to be burdened with and so he is looking for a way out.

So to cut to the chase, should he stay or should he go?

Rather than hypothesise and speculate over a paradoxical personal life here is a top five of purely football reasons for why Wayne Rooney must stay at Old Trafford. Feel free to contest or agree in comments.

1.    A culture of winning

You do not win league titles and a Cup Winners’ Cup with Aberdeen – breaking up the Rangers/Celtic monopoly in Scotland – then head south of the border, awaken a sleeping giant at a time when Liverpool were winning everything, cure an addled club with a damaging drinking culture, lead it to near dominance in the eighteen years of the Premier League and win two Champions Leagues with two rebuilt sides without knowing a thing or two about how to manage professional footballers.

2.    Sir Alex

The Scot’s man management skills are rated high and away above his tactical prowess which he tends to leave to his entourage of coaches. Rather, he knows how to get the best out of his players and how to develop them into world beaters.

When Ryan Giggs was a wee Welshman, drawing flattering overtures from European managers for his dazzling twinkle toes and from exotic women for his tropically adorned chest, his head was undoubtedly turned by Inter Milan. Ferguson recognised he was straying down the path of the celebrity footballer (insert Golden Balls reputation here) and directed his focus and energy back on succeeding where he was.

Fast forward to 2010 and he is the most decorated and arguably most respected, adulated and championed footballer ever to grace English football. Rooney is in the most capable hands he could be in to help him get through a difficult period on and off the field and realise his still unfulfilled potential.

3.    In good company

The Liverpudlian evidently looks up to Paul Scholes and admires his professionalism. With the likes of Giggs, Scholes and Gary Neville excelling as a one-club player in this country Rooney must be aware that he is ideally positioned to be next in line.
Furthermore it doesn’t take the Hamlyn illustrated history of Manchester United to realise the careers of those world class players that left Old Trafford invariably struggled to push onto even greater heights.

David Beckham struggled at first to win trophies at the Bernabeu with Real Madrid, eventually winning La Liga in his fourth season away from United. Ruud van Nistlerooy started well at the Galacticos before seeing himself frozen out. Jaap Stam has always said he should never have left Old Trafford after clashing with Ferguson.

The only players in recent years to be thriving since seeking pastures knew have been Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez…and yet they are yet to claim any silverware at their new clubs.

4.    Form is temporary

It is fair to say those in football suffer from short term memory loss. Last season, Wayne was striding around Premier League grounds, chest puffed out, confidence overflowing, proudly displaying the red white and black of the Red Devils kit. Yet with a memory akin to that of the school fate goldfish this season he’s been skulking around the pitch, in the shadow of the emboldened Dimitar Berbatov, incapable of trapping any pass and more error prone than a gently pressed Mikael Silvestre with time and space (let’s be honest he hasn’t been that bad).

If he were to take a step back, clear his befuddled head and realise the levels of ability and success he achieved last season then he would realise this rut he’s in is temporary. If the Chilean miners were able to escape the hole they found themselves in last week then Rooney can get back to Players’ Player of the Year award-winning form.
Most importantly, he will realise this form was found in a Manchester United shirt and can be again. He is still the main man in attack for United regardless of progress made by the Bulgarian and potential of Javier Hernandez and Kiko Macheda. Everything is so much rosier when it’s going well.

5.    Fans offer rehabilitation

While at Manchester United, Rooney was quoted in early May 2009: “I want to stay at this club for the rest of my career. I will sign an extension any time the club wants me to.”
This effusive confirmation of his devotion to the Red Devil cause and commitment to Sir Alex came in the final stages of a Premier League winning season that also led them to the final of the Champions League in Rome.

What a difference a year makes. Problems may have followed him to Old Trafford and a fresh start may appeal to a strained, unhappy 24-year-old, yet fans don’t quite see it that way.

Rooney will not be forgiven for turning his back on the Stretford End faithful. These are the fans that revelled in being the most hated club in England pre-Abramovich’s Chelsea. These are the fans that cheered Beckham when he was blamed for England’s exit from France ’98 whilst up and down the county his effigy was being burned remorselessly. These are the fans that took pride in their Portuguese winker and bellowed Ronaldo’s name whenever he graced Old Trafford after it was his turn to be held responsible for the national team’s failures in an international tournament.

These fans back their fallen heroes and inspire them to hit yet greater heights. Rooney has not gone past the point of no return. He is tip-toeing precariously close to it but the fans will still be there for him if he puts pen to paper. The rest – his confidence, belief, form and love for the game – can be revitalised by the Manchester United supporters who still line up in their thousands every Saturday afternoon to see their heroes enjoy a kickabout.

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  • http://whoissteveconnolly.com Steve Connolly.

    What an excellent article!

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    I’ve seen the future for united, and it’s grim. No creativity what so ever.

    Liverpool mark 2?

  • dexylongshot

    He’s just signed a new Ma U contract, you heard it here first!

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