‘Angry and confused’ Rooney demands exit

Wayne Rooney was a Manchester United talisman, the most revered player at English football’s dominant club. Now he has been overshadowed, is he right to want out?

He is paid £12 million per year, respected as a giant of his sport and worshipped by fans on every continent. Yet Wayne Rooney is not a happy man. This week finds him, according to his closest advisers, ‘angry and confused’.

Why? Because this talented footballer, on whose shoulders England’s greatest hopes have rested for nearly 10 years, is no longer the star act at his club. Since last summer, when Manchester United signed striker Robin van Persie from Arsenal, Rooney has been demoted to a supporting role – and he does not like it.

It is not just about the arrival of a bigger talent: many have questioned Rooney’s fitness and focus. Arguments with his managers have harmed his position at the club and his scoring record has dipped, with 16 goals last season compared to 34 the year before. The forward was not even in the starting line-up for United’s most important recent game.

Now Rooney has had enough. It is time, he demands, for Manchester United to let him go. Manager David Moyes’ insistence that he stay in case van Persie gets injured will only increase Rooney’s desire to go. But who will have him?



Few clubs can afford Rooney’s enormous wages, and the titans of Spain, Germany and France have shown little interest. The only clubs who appear keen are two of United’s most bitter rivals in the English Premier League: Arsenal and Chelsea. The latter are reported to have already made a starting offer.

Rooney is so associated with Manchester’s Red Devils that many supporters find it difficult to imagine him in Chelsea blue. If he made the move, the United fans who once adored him would turn against him. For a hefty chunk of the football-loving world, he would be remembered forever as a traitor.

Yet players often feel that loyalty is a luxury only fans can enjoy. With big ambitions and only 15 years or so to forge their legacy, many are tempted to prioritise their individual careers over the good of their team.

On the Wayne?

If that’s his attitude, say some Man United fans, then good riddance: great footballers put their team above any selfish desire or ambition. A tightly-woven set of players committed to a common goal beats any group of superstar prima donnas who care only for personal glory.

That’s just not the way football works any more, respond less idealistic types. United would drop Rooney remorselessly the instant he stopped being useful – why should he, a world-class professional, be any more loyal to his employers than they are to him? Besides, these yearly transfer sagas are a great sporting drama in their own right.

You Decide

  1. Should a footballer stay at one club for their whole career?
  2. Are team sports mostly about individual talent or cooperation?

Activities

  1. Write down three things you would like to achieve in your life. Which ones could you manage alone and which would you need to do as part of a team?
  2. Imagine you are a journalist interviewing Wayne Rooney. Write down five questions you would ask.

Some People Say...

“Loyalty is a sentiment for slaves.”

What do you think?

Q & A

Whether to play for Man U or Chelsea is not a dilemma many people are likely to face.
Right – that’s the sort of scenario that ordinary football fans (or even players) can only fantasise about! But plenty of people care an awful lot about the choices made by top footballers like Rooney, and his situation provokes a debate which has wider relevance.
How so?
Well, you don’t have to be a superstar to be torn between loyalty and ambition. Would you rather find a company you love and commit yourself to helping it succeed? Or will you set yourself personal goals and go wherever you can to achieve them?

Word Watch

Managers
In 2010, Rooney demanded more pay and respect from previous manager of Manchester United, Alex Ferguson. But Ferguson became angry with the striker’s lack of effort and his continuing demands, and the pair fell out. United’s new manager has an even worse history with Rooney, having sued him for libel over comments made in Rooney’s autobiography.
Most important
United’s defeat to Real Madrid in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
Red Devils
United’s nickname comes from the club’s emblem: a red devil on a golden crest.
Legacy
Originally a legal term referring to the assets someone leaves behind after their death. Today it is often used to describe the achievements which someone is remembered for.

Subjects

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