While the lot of the Internet waxes poetic on the Wayne Rooney saga from various corners of the globe, I’ve remained oddly quiet on a matter concerning the club I support and a player I’ve held in incredibly high regard for some time.
Rooney’s declaration of desire this past week hit me in that kind of ‘I don’t really want to believe it’ kind of way. As I traveled across the Atlantic Ocean and connected flights back to my home in Lexington, I’d hoped the 13 hours in the air would produce a sort of clean slate on the Rooney saga, that he’d wake up and realize the error of his ways. My thoughts remain astray.
Before I woke again Stateside I tried to convince myself that surely these quotes and statements were rumors conjured up by journalists like some bad spell from a part time witch. In my faux state of disbelief, I decided the truth would soon come out in regards to the lynchpin of the club I support and that he’d been misquoted and would then restate his desire to stay and fight for the league this season.
It seems for now at least, I must prepare myself for the worst while in the current state of football in 2010, I really should have seen this coming. What defines loyalty in players anymore anyway? It’s all so disheartening.
As a football fan, these are the kinds of scenarios you think about from time to time, but assume they’ll never actually happen. As Liverpool fans with Steven Gerrard, or Chelsea fans with Frank Lampard, United fans worship the ground Wayne Rooney walks on. The great revelation now is that we must all grasp the hard to digest fact that Rooney doesn’t walk on water and is more concerned with a few extra pounds than the overall cohesive best of the team. My naivety now erased.
In a nightmarish circumstance, United supporters, because of the behavior of one, are now being asked to choose between their club’s best player and the club itself, an institution they hold so dear. My advice to them: always back your club and the manager. The Wayne Rooney’s of the world will emerge again while the history of a club can never be replicated.
Isn’t Fergie Smelling Of Roses?
While Rooney was stretched off the Carrington training ground with yet another ankle knock, Sir Alex Ferguson was drawing a figurative line in the sand over the whole matter. Ambition!, Ambition you say? Rich comments coming from a young, petulant child directed towards a club the likes of Manchester United, and more specifically, a manager the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson who has won some 35 trophies as a manager at United.
While Fergie now scrambles to right the ship and to nip the whole affair before it spreads like a cancer through Old Trafford, Rooney patiently awaits the outcome of his self imposed exile. While he sits ankle up on the couch waiting for that big money call from City, Chelsea or heaven forbid, Real Madrid, United supporters are left to wonder where it all went wrong and how all of this happened so fast.
When the dust settles and cooler heads prevail to look back upon a series of unfortunate events, will Rooney’s behavior prove the catalyst to his fall from grace, or will Fergie’s classic stubbornness prove the originator that led to Rooney’s dispersion?
The answer: A – Because Rooney’s behavior isn’t some saddening cry for help from a young man looking to get his career back on track, to rediscover his form in pastures greener, or to make more money to support his family, it’s simply further proof that football is slightly diseased, that the thoughts and desires of the young and over-paid are clouded, ridiculous and absurd.
In Rooney’s tenure at Manchester United, he’s captured 3 Premier League trophies, 1 European Cup, 2 League Cups, 2 FA Community Shields and 1 FIFA Club World Cup, all since 2004. A pretty ‘ambitious’ collection if you ask me. I’m starting to get the feeling that young Mr. Rooney isn’t really sure what he wants at the moment. He’s a world class player who’s ‘out of class’ at the moment and is grasping at straws as his career, form, private life – both for club and country – slowly fades from his control.
Yet what of Rooney’s sentiment expressed in the lack of injection of new United blood to support him? While the Glazers remain strategically quiet on the matter and while the debt continues to mount, what of Rooney’s ideas that cash isn’t being splashed upon top talent? Does the boy have a point?
While the David Villa’s, Silva’s, Mesut Ozil’s and the like were all snatched up by Europe’s best over the summer, United secured the sig’s of Javier Hernandez, Chris Smalling and Bebe, not your upperclassmen of European football. But wasn’t Rooney himself in a similar situation in 2004 when he made the move from Everton?
While Roy Keane and Ruud van Nistelrooy left United soon after Rooney’s arrival, one player lamented to Ferguson that youngsters Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo weren’t good enough to win and also expressed his desire to leave. We all know how that ended.
The point here is that Rooney criticizing United for not injecting cash on new players, at least now, carries no validity. How does Rooney know that Chicharito isn’t the next 20 goal a season Premier League striker, or that Chris Smalling can’t soon replace Rio Ferdinand’s stature at the back? Is Rooney paid to judge these such aspects of football? The answer sadly remains no.
And what of Rooney’s current form? Is he currently playing like a player who can make absurd demands to leave his current club for a nice big money move away? Who’s to say he’ll find his best from anytime soon?
Until it remains abundantly clear that players are paid to play and managers are paid to manage and spot potential, the falling outs, the disagreements and the unsettled will continue to be a part of football. It’s an egotistical abomination and a sad reflection on the modern state of football.
Will I turn my back on the player I’ve enjoyed immensely over the past 5 or 6 years? Likely no, but Rooney’s actions, his statements of discontent and his desire to quit Manchester United prove to me that clubs will always be bigger than individual players and that certain players the likes of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes are more valuable, (should be) cherished and have more pride in their left foot than players like Wayne Rooney can ever hope to capture and display.
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