Tuesday, 14 September 2010
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson maintained that he was right to drop Wayne Rooney for last weekend’s draw with Everton after the sordid tabloid revelations about his private life.
It certainly can be argued that they coped without him, despite the 3-3 draw. The Red Devils were comfortably 3-1 in front going into injury time and only two goals in two stunning minutes led to debates about Rooney’s whereabouts.
But regardless of whether United missed him on Saturday, questions still remain as to whether Sir Alex Ferguson’s reasons are strictly true.
Fergie said he wanted to save Rooney the ‘nonsense’ he would have endured at the hands of the Goodison crowd, who no doubt would have given him plenty of stick not only for his recent off-field indiscretions but also for his controversial departure from the Merseysiders six years ago.
But Wayne is a big boy now and is surely able to cope with a bit of verbal abuse from a rowdy crowd? He has after all played in Champions matches, European Championships and two World Cups in his already eventful career.
The Everton crowd are boisterous and rowdy but no more so than any other crowd who seek to intimidate the opposition.
It seems to me that the Evertonians are a handy excuse for Fergie to hide his real reasons for leaving Rooney behind.
But what are those real reasons?
It could be a disciplinary issue. Ferguson despises the ‘superstar’ culture that goes with modern footballers and expects certain levels of behaviour. Rooney has certainly fallen below those if the News of The World is to be believed so could have been a victim of Fergie strict disciplinarian side.
He could also, of course, been given time off to sort out his difference with wife Coleen, He had after all been away with England all week following the revelations and perhaps needed some family time.
But Ferguson, who is a master of diverting the media away from things he finds detrimental to the side, would prefer to blame the Everton fans and brush the tabloid chatter under the carpet then fan the flames by openly discussing them.
But Rooney is big news, whether it is for his on field actions or those off it, so any attempt by a Fergie to reduce the headlines – be it genuine or not - will probably prove futile.