Should David Moyes sell Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney?

The England forward has again asked to leave the club - but should the incoming manager let him?

The first item in David Moyes’ in-tray at Old Trafford is clear enough: what to do about Wayne Rooney? That there is an irony in the man who unveiled, sold and sued Rooney being his boss once more will not be lost on either. Player and manager are understood to have had a rapprochement since comments in Rooney’s autobiography prompted Moyes to summon the lawyers, but the relationship is unlikely to ever be a warm one.

That need not matter. Managers and players do not have to get on to work together, the bigger problem appears to be Rooney's desire to leave Old Trafford. When he submitted his transfer request in late 2010 it was borne of frustration at United seemingly being left behind by the wealth of Manchester City and success of Barcelona. In another ironic twist Sir Alex Ferguson eventually acted on Rooney's demands and bought a top-class player, Robin van Persie, only for his arrival to lead to Rooney being supplanted at the head of United's attack. Played out of position, on occasion left out completely, Rooney again asked to leave. Ferguson turned that down, presumably not wanting to force his successor's hand.

So Moyes inherits a disaffected player whom he knows well. Personalities will not dictate his decision, pragmatism will. Does he have a place for Rooney in his team? Or just his squad? If only the latter how will that affect Rooney's attitude, and what impact might that have on the other players? And, finally, does he have to sell to recruit? Because if he does Rooney would realise a significant sum, and give Moyes some leeway on the wage bill.

There is no doubting Rooney's versatility and drive make him an asset to any squad, but his impact at Old Trafford has waned. This season, though he did not suffer any serious injury, he has made only 36 appearances, the least of his nine years at United. In ten matches against the rest of the top six he scored twice and was booked five times. In six Champions League ties he scored once, against Braga. Goals do not tell the main story for he played many games wide or in midfield, but the previous season he scored 34 goals in 44 matches for the club. In addition he was criticised by Ferguson for a lack of fitness, a damning charge for an elite athlete.

Rooney has long given the impression of a player whose physique, in an increasingly athletic game, suggests he will peak early. However, such is his football intelligence he may yet confound such analysis.

Should Moyes sell Rooney again? The question is not as unthinkable as it was. If he needs to, to raise transfer funds, and he believes the player's attitude could be corrosive in a dressing room Moyes must impose himself upon quickly, yes. If, though, Moyes believes Rooney can be at the core of his team, and can convince the player of that, he should keep him. Either way it is a demanding first decision for the new man at Old Trafford to be faced with.

 

Related articles...

Moyes confirms 'desire to join Manchester United'

The contenders to replace Moyes as Everton manager

Rooney exit: Striker deletes 'Manchester United player' from his Twitter profile

Should Moyes sell Wayne Rooney?

Silverware is no measure of Moyes

Business as usual: Sir Alex Ferguson back on the training ground

James Lawton: Ferguson's exit leaves a yawning vacuum

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions