October 2010, Wayne Rooney does the unthinkable, he flirts with the enemy. We all know the story, we all know the outcome, many were also surprised that, for whatever reason, Sir Alex chose NOT to dish out the kind of treatment he’s become synonymous with when players cross the line.
Stam felt it, Keane felt it, Kanchelskis, Hughes and Ince felt it, so too Beckham.
Sir Alex has always been ruthless when dealing with players who get a bit too big for their boots to the detriment of the club or, more importantly, to his dressing room.
With the hype and bandwagon gathering pace on Lewandowski’s arrival at Old Trafford in the summer; has Sir Alex finally positioned himself to settle a score?
It could be argued Rooney really was irreplaceable at the time and I’m sure many will. If indeed Sir Alex was of that opinion then credit to him for having the stomach to pander to Wayne and ease him into ‘making the right decision’ and publicly apologising to his team mates and fans alike while continuing to perform at his best for the club (albeit on a now hugely inflated salary thanks to the stunt).
Ferguson needed Rooney then, but does he need him now?
His striking options alongside Rooney back then were an ageing Mickey ‘two-games a season’ Owen, a misfiring young Italian by the name of Macheda who has has since failed to reach the heights required, a brand new Mexican centre forward with potential but an entirely different game to Wayne, and a Bulgarian luxury who simply stopped ‘fitting in’ to Sir Alex’s plans (much to my and many others disdain).
Who would fill the massive void left by Rooney if Sir Alex were to lose him in 2010? How would United have coped or found a replacement in the January transfer window? Could a replacement be found at all?
Yes van Persie is entering the final seasons at the highest level BUT, his injury hit past means he’s actually not played as many games in his career as you might imagine, 281 to be precise, with 71 National caps at the age of 29. A Micheal Owen burn out scenario is not to be found here.
With Welbeck showing signs of improvement and a similar tenacious appetite for the game as Rooney himself, it’s hard to believe he’s on any shortlist earmarked for departure, especially at just 22. With experience, hard work and twice daily shooting practice, Welbeck could forge himself a very prosperous career at United.
The Little Mexican Pea (who only arrived shortly before Rooney’s aberration) is now flourishing as the alternative solution where necessary. He appears content with that, he appears very much the way Solksjaer did, he appears comfortable dealing with that role and it certainly didn’t do Solksjaer any harm did it.
What do you think? Will Rooney be the man to make way for any new striking arrival in the summer or is there an alternative? Rooney into midfield perhaps? Do you think Ferguson does feel aggrieved by Rooney’s behaviour back in 2010 or did he truly forgive Wayne for his moment of madness? Could Hernandez, Welbeck or RvP be on their way or is it possible he’ll attempt to satisfy five of them?
Personally, I can’t see Rooney at United after Ferguson, he’ll possibly be shown the door this summer….but then I said that last year! I just don’t believe for a minute Sir Alex has it in him to allow a petulant little millionaire from Toxteth get one over him after all he did for him. One day he’ll settle the scores, I’m sure of it, it’s just a matter of time, but the question may be….who would buy him?!
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