Wayne Rooney eyes better times ahead... with Manchester United

Striker relishing return to his club after another unfulfilling tournament campaign with England

Wayne Rooney might be licking his wounds over England's Euro 2012 exit, but it will not be long before Manchester United matters are on his mind again.

The striker is starting his annual summer break to a background of general discontent regarding his performances in Ukraine this summer. In addition, a seemingly innocuous comment about the England camp being a better place as a direct result of the new manager, Roy Hodgson, having full command of English seems to have annoyed Fabio Capello.

Yet the Italian former England coach's caustic comments about Rooney only understanding Scottish may, indirectly, have an element of truth about them. After all, while there have been a couple of significant fallouts, the 26-year-old seems to react better to the Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, than to anyone else.

While Rooney can hardly be blamed for United selecting yesterday to highlight on their website an interview he gave them for their official diary of the 2011-12 season, entitled "Fight to the Finish", the comments reinforce a perception that United will always get the best of their star forward.

"I think we've all learnt a lot," said Rooney. "There have been a lot of games where you get a feeling afterwards that you never want to have again. Hopefully, we can get hold of that feeling and make sure it doesn't happen again. Just look at all the young players in the squad: they've played a lot of games, had a lot of ups and downs and most of them are already getting selected for their national teams.

"That's all going to help them. The next two or three years will be a big test for them and I'm sure we'll all pull through it."

Rooney's assessment was of a season that brought staggering low points for United, including a 6-1 home defeat by Manchester City; a defeat by Basle in December which led to them crashing out of the Champions League; and two games in which they were comprehensively outplayed by Athletic Bilbao, who finished mid-table in La Liga, in the Europa League. All these games left significant scars.

United nonetheless overcame all that to establish an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League with just six games remaining, only to toss away the advantage and offer City a run to their first title in 44 years. Sergio Aguero's last-gasp, final-day goal at the Etihad Stadium then ripped the prize from their grasp.

Those setbacks, though, cannot be ignored. Ferguson, who returned to work this week, has begun the task of reshaping his squad with the arrival of the Japan midfielder Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund. The England Under-19 international Nick Powell has been snapped up from Crewe Alexandra as Ferguson keeps an eye on the future.

Nevertheless, more will be required, even though actually piecing together a squad is not going to be easy for Ferguson, given the competing demands of Euro 2012 and the forthcoming London Olympics.

Of the United squad, only Portugal's Nani remained on active service in Poland and Ukraine as the semi-finals began. However, Ferguson prefers to give his players a minimum of three weeks off, meaning that those who have been involved in Euro 2012 in any way will miss some, if not all, of the club's pre-season tour to South Africa and Ukraine.

In addition, the goalkeeper David de Gea is certain to be required for Olympic duty by Spain and Ferguson can expect to lose more players, including possibly Ryan Giggs, when the Great Britain coach, Stuart Pearce, names his squad. United are also providing three players – Sam Johnstone, Tom Thorpe and Michael Keane – for England's Under-19 European Championship campaign next month.

United's captain, Nemanja Vidic, is not expected to travel on the pre-season tour either, as when he returns for duty next week he will be stepping up the rehabilitation work after a cruciate operation.

According to United's reserve-team coach, Warren Joyce, Ryan Tunnicliffe will be among the young players who are set to be retained next season, but Keane will be sent out on loan.

"There's bound to be interest from the Championship as they both did well last year," Joyce said yesterday. "The reserves won everything and Keane won the [reserves'] player of the year. For sure he will go out on loan but Tunnicliffe may well be around the first team."

 

Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
News
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
news
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

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss