Wayne Rooney was conspicuous by his absence from Rio Ferdinand’s testimonial at Old Trafford last night after issuing a statement which transparently looked like a dig at the Manchester United manager, David Moyes.
United’s vulnerable defence got a chasing from Seville in the 3-1 defeat which made Moyes’ first night as manager here one to forget. Rooney issued an unusual statement on his Facebook page before the game, thanking England manager Roy Hodgson for his “faith and support” following his inclusion in the squad to face Scotland on Wednesday.
“Can’t wait to join up with the England squad and hopefully play in a competitive match, they always are against Scotland,” Rooney wrote shortly before 5pm. “Big thanks to Roy Hodgson for selecting me and showing his faith and support, appreciate it.”
This felt like the latest attempt to put distance between himself and Moyes, who steadfastly insist they will not sell him, whether or not he puts in a transfer request. Moyes had refused his request to play last night and Rooney has asked to train away from the first team.
Ferdinand, who said in the match programme that he aspires to coach, saw many United players missing from the XI who played Seville because of tomorrow’s Community Shield duties. The lone striker role was taken by the Chilean 19-year-old Angelo Henriquez who was thwarted by goalkeeper Beto when put through by fellow teenager Adnan Januzaj on 10 minutes. But United’s defence then looked leaden and slow as a far fitter Seville side strolled through twice in four minutes to lead 2-0, through Vitolo and Marko Marin.
United raised the tempo in the second half and the impressive Januzaj was integral to them pulling a goal back. His shot was parried but set up Antonio Valencia for him to steer home. But substitute Bryan Rabello guided home another to see the Spaniards win 3-1.
Moyes, whose club have not enjoyed a convincing pre-season, looked disconcerted and was quickly out into his technical area. The Scot said before the game that his first six weeks had been “brilliant” though agreed they were also “testing”.
“I don’t know anyone who takes over at Manchester United who will not have testing times. Even the great Alex Ferguson had testing times. It will be no different for David Moyes.”