Wayne Rooney reveals midfield role at Manchester United was root cause of being ready to quit Old Trafford

'I had come to a point where for my career I had to be more selfish,' says England striker ahead of vital World Cup qualifiers

Wayne Rooney has revealed for the first time that his dissatisfaction at Manchester United last season began when Sir Alex Ferguson played him out of position in midfield, an issue that he said has now been remedied by the arrival of David Moyes.

Rooney did not mention Ferguson once by name over a 20-minute briefing with national newspapers at St George's Park, but he left no doubt that it was the former United manager's occasional deployment of him in midfield that had contributed to his form.

Rooney said: "Everyone at the club knew that [in attack] is where I wanted to play and I think that's why I was disappointed because I got told to play in midfield and I didn't want to. But I'd always go in and try to help the team, so I think there had to come a point where for my own career I had to be a bit selfish, really."

Rooney did not elaborate on what form that selfishness took, but it would seem that was one of the reasons that he was prepared to leave United in the summer. With Ferguson gone, he was told by Moyes and chief executive Ed Woodward that United were not prepared to sell to Chelsea, who made three bids for the player before it became clear that they would not be accepted under any circumstances.

Rooney implied that he had known for some time United would not countenance his sale to Chelsea and had come to accept it. Nevertheless, he would not say definitively that his long-term future lies with United. With less than two years remaining on his contract, he is in his 10th season at Old Trafford and turns 28 later this month.

"I'm not going to go around saying I wanted to stay or I wanted to leave [United]," Rooney said. "I'll concentrate on my football and see what happens after that."

As for the prospect of a new contract, he left the door open to that possibility. "You can see I'm playing and I'm happy in my football. I'll have more discussions with the club and we'll see what happens from there."

Wayne Rooney grew frustrated with Sir Alex Ferguson (Getty) Wayne Rooney grew frustrated with Sir Alex Ferguson (Getty)

 

Although Rooney was not played in midfield extensively, there appeared to be no doubt in his mind this week that playing there had had a direct impact on his form. He was deployed on the right of the three behind Robin van Persie in United's Champions League last 16 tie away to Real Madrid on 13 February, and famously left out for the home return. Away at Stoke on 14 April he was played as a central midfielder and three days later, away to West Ham, he found himself deployed on the left of the attacking three. He was also regularly substituted.

Asked about the difference in his form from last season and now, Rooney said: "Sometimes it happens. I didn't feel I got a consistent run of games up front. I actually felt when I played midfield I did OK but I didn't want to play there. I've had no problem in the past playing out of position but I felt I deserved the right to play in my position and that wasn't happening.

"I think naturally I was a bit disappointed and maybe that affected some of the games I played. I can go and play in midfield. Maybe when I'm a bit older, losing my legs a bit, I can go back there. I don't mean I only want to play centre-forward but one of two [in attack]."

He added: "David Moyes has come in and he's playing me up front and I'm enjoying it. I'm not saying I wouldn't [drop back to midfield], for instance if it was the last 10 or 15 minutes of a game and we were holding on a bit. [If] I got asked to drop to the left or drop in to help see the game out. I'm not saying I'd throw my arms up and not do it."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
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

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific