Wayne Rooney, Manchester United and a Costly Conundrum


In just under two weeks, Manchester United will begin their pre-season preparations for the upcoming season in the United States of America – in a hectic run of games that will include Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona in the space of seven days.

Although the usual excitement around the build-up to a fresh season still exists in a large scale – there is also a growing sense of unease, for want of the right word, among the supporters who spend their time replying, ‘Announce <insert player name>’ under every Manchester United tweet. This feeling has not been helped either by active football journalists either ruling out Manchester United signing a universally popular name or linking the club to someone who is quickly discarded as ‘underwhelming’.

Thus the vicious cycle of Manchester United Twitter has been in motion for quite sometime now – feeding on copious amounts of speculation and sometimes –  outright frustration, except for the brief period when everyone tried to convince their followers why Victor Lindelof could be the next Rio Ferdinand.

Amidst the kerfuffle, United are so far failing to resolve one of the key issues in the squad – or in football parlance, ‘getting rid of the deadwood’.

Manchester United may be in a privileged position to be able to add more members to their squad and figures to their already sky-high wage bill and not be bothered by the Financial Fair Play (FFP) – but as internal harmony goes, keeping the spirits high within the squad is one of the fundamental features of a successful team and the adverse impact of oversize and a disproportionate share of playing time, cannot be overstated.

Among unresolved player futures at United, the one that sticks out like a sore thumb is the contract situation of Wayne Rooney, the club captain and all-time record goal-scorer.

In one of my earlier articles, I had mentioned Mourinho’s expert handling of the Wayne Rooney issue in a list of positives under his management, until that point of the season. At the time, there was an established first XI that was bouncing from one win to another – in December and the early weeks of January, a side with Wayne Rooney very much on the periphery.

When you look back on 2016/17, Rooney was never a fixture in the most important games even when he was fit and ready to play.

He was an unused substitute in the League Cup Final at Wembley – the first real significant game of Manchester United under the Portuguese. Neither did the skipper make the starting XI three months on, in the Europa League Final in May, when United played their most significant game of the season under Mourinho. If that is not the clearest indication of where Wayne Rooney is in Mourinho’s pecking order, one would wonder what is.

Rooney had featured in the starting line-up in the Premier League only 15 times, with 11 of his teammates making more appearances through the season while a whopping 18 of them appeared more times than the skipper in the Europa League. That is an almighty fall for a player of his stature who was virtually guaranteed a spot in the eleven when he was fit – for almost a decade.

Gary Neville, never shy of an opinion on United, raised concerns over the potential dangers of brewing uncertainty at the club, which could have a dampening effect on the atmosphere around it, if not within. With a World Cup on the horizon, it is natural from Rooney’s point of view to look elsewhere for more playing time but whether or not the new club would agree to pay his astronomical wages, remains to be one of the main stumbling blocks in any such pursuit.

But that should not deter Manchester United and Wayne Rooney from finding a solution to this haggling problem – whatever it is and not let this costly conundrum continue to hang over their heads ahead of the fresh season.


  1. Nice problem to have.
    All he needs todo is cut his wage demands.
    Maybe he could be bonussed in grannies?

  2. I have had a lot of patience with Rooney. I never did like the guy but his performances made seeing his cretinous little face bearable. This is a guy who repeatedly held the club to ransom and never had any kind of connection to it. Now he is willing to rot in the background and even trigger an extra year. His legacy obviously means nothing more than the club does to him. I dont blame him but neither do i understand why certain sections of the fanbase adore him, he’s just a merc.

  3. Mercenary, is a bit harsh in my opinion. After all he stayed at a time when we couldn’t afford to lose him, particularly to City (the first time he threw some of his toys out of the pram). And we do not fully know what happened behind the scenes that made Ferguson drop Rooney ahead of the Real Madrid game in 2013. David Moyes got Manchester United into this mess.

    However, from purely a footballing perspective, Rooney brings very little to the table – in fact for a player who is pocketing around £300k a week, his contribution is paltry at best and the money could be utilized best elsewhere.

  4. At a time when he said that ambition was the problem it was money that turned his head. Infact money has been the only thing he has respected…. Once i saw him kiss the badge but he had just been given 300 stacks a week and I’m guessing he was instructed to get the fans back onside during negotiations.

  5. Rooney is an all time great at Manu. He needs to stay and loser Jose needs to play him more. Maybe we would of had less ties and more wins.

  6. I think Utd should have hot rid of him a few years ago. When we had the chance let’s face it he hasn’t been a top player for 4-5 seasons.
    Rooney needs to go and play regular football and who knows a possible England call up may be on the cards

  7. Apparently rooney thinks that returning to training a bit early makes up for the last 3 years. Captain? He’s the worst captain in man United history. Even Ashley young stepped up when needed, rooney was down the pub. He’s the prime example to hold up when talking about failed potential, one of the most naturally gifted footballers I’ve ever seen, talent pissed away, while Ronaldo collects balloon d’ors, rooney is off smoking cigars and fucking 80 year old women. Waster.

  8. Some strong opinions on here. Anyway, Rooney has had his day at United, at least as a regular in the first team. The two years remaining in the contract gives him the power to ultimately make the decision, his. And from experience, we know he’s pretty good at that, when it concerns his own well being. Reckon the world cup next Summer will sway his head towards Everton and more playing time.


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