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.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee