As Manchester United debuts go, Wayne Rooney’s was amongst the greatest and most memorable of all time. Ronaldo, Macheda, van Nistelrooy and Shay Brennan all received approving nods via our Twitter following last night, but surely none compare to Rooney’s? Shame then how the want-away striker could sour the occasion for a man who seems intent on sticking by him.
Today David Moyes takes centre stage as he marches his troops to South Wales for an early evening season opener against Swansea City, a fixture that looks and feels difficult for a number of reasons.
But what will be occupying Moyes’ thoughts throughout what promises to be a cracking spectacle? I can’t see how it can be anything other than Wayne Rooney.
Despite Rooney travelling with the squad, there’s no way he’ll make the starting eleven due in the most part to his lack of fitness, then there’s the transfer situation, then there’s trust.
After featuring (rather poorly) from the start for England on Wednesday evening, Rooney looks set to cast his huge shadow over David Moyes from the substitutes bench.
Ironic how the man in possession of the greatest debut in United’s history is prepared to overshadow the debut of a man charged with taking control of footballs biggest (potentially) poisoned chalice.
Why has Rooney travelled? He must be in contention to play some part in the match then? If not, why take him? Why risk the potential scenarios? Or is Rooney’s heart back in it and he no longer wants to leave?
The potential for a ‘Tevez-like’ episode is possible but so too is a hero’s return off the bench I guess. But which one is it most likely to be; and who has the answer
Only Wayne himself knows whether he’ll choose to create a scene or create some magic. That’s why, either way, David Moyes has given himself a debut more uncomfortable than it needed to be, it’s a huge gamble. Why not leave him at home until his future is clearer? Unless of course it already is.
With more questions than answers, it’s little surprise United fans, pundits and the media are unable to say with any conviction how United will look or perform today. It’s likely Moyes will call on the more experienced members of the squad as he hopes to successfully (or at the very least, acceptably) navigate the first five tricky looking Premier league fixtures of his tenure.
With Rafael serving the final game of his suspension, it looks likely Ferdinand and Vidic will team up alongside Jones and Evra at right and left fullback.
Nani and Young are sidelined so Wilfried Zaha, United’s one and only arrival of any significance so far this summer, looks set to feature but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Zaha looked mustard in pre-season and deserves his chance if it comes regardless of who’s fit and who isn’t. Given an early run of games I feel Ashley Young (especially) could struggle to regain a position within the side if Zaha has the level of impact I’m expecting him to. In my opinion Zaha is about to be a menace during the first half of the season while teams try to suss his game out.
Michael Carrick was absent from England’s 3-2 victory over Scotland in midweek but is expected to recover fully from the eye infection that kept him out. Who plays alongside Carrick is up for discussion although Giggs, Anderson and Cleverley look most likely and in that order.
Danny Welbeck did for England in midweek what he was most criticised for not doing enough of at United last season, and scored! Welbeck looked sharp on Wednesday and also scored in pre-season. If he retains that form and finds the net more often he’ll begin to silence his many critics.
United have taken 10 out of a possible 12 points in their recent league meetings with The Swans and Moyes definitely needs to add to that tally today to avoid the heat being instantly turned up on him. With Robin van Persie getting off to a flyer last week at Wembley, he could hold the key to what will ultimately be a big, BIG, day in the future of David Moyes. I hope it isn’t ruined for him.
Swansea’s season began early with two Europa League fixtures already. Beating Malmo at home in a one-sided 4-0 win they looked impressive while they did enough to secure their progress with a 0-0 draw away in the 2nd leg. Michu was, unsurprisingly, the dangerman as he proved to be in the reverse fixture last season when United were lucky to earn a point after being in control early on and taking the lead. It was Michu’s goal that day that secured a point and he’ll again be the one-to-watch.
I fancy Swansea’s chances this season, I like Laudrup and I like his style of play. If recent acquisitions such as Bony and Pozuelo have a similar impact to Michu did last season (and Michu avoids ‘second season syndrome’) I think Swansea have a decent chance of upsetting the Status Quo, to what extent remains to be seen although the arrival of Jonjo Shelvey is a puzzling one. Red card for Shelvey on his Swansea debut tomorrow? I wouldn’t be too surprised.
What do you think. Can Moyes trust Rooney to be sent on with 20 minutes to play and give 100% for the cause or could Moyes see it backfire spectacularly as Rooney sulks his way to the end without lifting a finger in an effort to force his way out? It’s a question that one-way-or-another should have been eradicated weeks ago.
Good Luck Dave.
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