Relief for Wayne Rooney as David Moyes vows not to play him in midfield

In the final seasons under Sir Alex Ferguson, the England striker was relegated down from the front line

Manchester United’s manager, David Moyes, has ruled out any immediate prospect of Wayne Rooney being deployed in midfield, where he was so unhappy to be placed by Sir Alex Ferguson, declaring on the eve of a Champions League campaign to which the player is so integral that his Old Trafford rehabilitation is under way.

Rooney was controversially dropped to the bench for United’s last Champions League night at Old Trafford, against Real Madrid in March, which irreparably damaged the relationship with Ferguson and contributed to the player agitating to leave for Chelsea.

But ahead of Tuesday night’s Champions League opener against Bayer Leverkusen at Old Trafford, Moyes said that Rooney’s goal which sealed Saturday’s victory over Crystal Palace was a key moment in his rehabilitation with supporters and made it clear that he will allow Rooney the freedom to be “what he is”.

Asked if there were any plans to deploy Rooney in midfield, Moyes said: “Not just now. I can only see Wayne playing up top and playing as a forward for us. I don’t have a goals target for him. But his targets have been big in recent years.”

The United manager also made it clear that the final third was not the only domain where he expected the 27-year-old to operate. “We will try and get him up there. But Wayne’s game is a little bit more. He has developed into one of those centre-forwards who drops into spaces to pick the ball up. He plays in a slightly different way so you have to appreciate him for what he does and his style of play. That’s what he is.”

Though Rooney mistakenly perceived some comments by Moyes this summer to imply that he was second in the pecking order behind Robin van Persie, Moyes said he wanted them in tandem. “The hope is that we get a partnership where folk are saying, ‘My goodness, we are having to play against Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney!’ To be successful you need to have people who can score you 20 goals. I am hoping with Robin and Wayne you have two there who you would say they have that in them to do that,” Moyes said. 

The United manager said he expected Rooney would be targeting a 30-plus tally this season. Of the player’s relationship with United’s supporters, who have constantly chanted his name despite his obvious desire to leave, Moyes said: “I am sure [the crowd support has helped him to] gain confidence.”

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

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future