Wayne Rooney Must Improve His Attitude Before Destroying His Legacy

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IAugust 18, 2013

SWANSEA, WALES - AUGUST 17: David Moyes (R) the manager of Manchester United passes on final instructions as Wayne Rooney (L) comes on as a substitute during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Manchester United at the Liberty Stadium on August 17, 2013 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images

With Manchester United cruising to a 4-1 victory over Swansea City in their EPL opener, Wayne Rooney was sulking around like players were kicking his puppy instead of the ball. 

This stood in sharp contrast to his joyous teammates. 

It all began with Rooney on the sideline. Struggling with injuries, the 27-year-old had yet to pick up any action in the lead-up to the season opener, and he still has to work toward his fitness. 

So, when United striker Robin van Persie delivered a quality opener in the 34th minute, Rooney stood unmoved on the sidelines. Of course, there had to be a lot going on in his mind at that moment. Van Persie is not only the man who knocked him from his striker's role with the Red Devils, but he's also a big part of the reason why it's been widely speculated Rooney wants a move away from Old Trafford. 

However, in what appeared to be an effort to show his morose stance wasn't limited to the man who displaced him, Rooney remained sullen as Danny Welbeck tacked on United's second goal just two minutes after van Persie added the opener. 

At this point, it seemed fair to speculate that perhaps Rooney's attitude was due to him being uncomfortable on the sidelines. 

However, Rooney was thorough on this day. He came on in the 62nd minute, and United added two goals with Rooney on the pitch. He played a vital role on both goals. His participation in the action did not improve his attitude: 

To his credit, Rooney's depression was only apparent in his reactions. He played well. Whoscored.com gave him a 7.16 match rating. 

After a successful EPL debut with Manchester United, David Moyes was quick to point out his happiness with Rooney's performance. 

Meanwhile, it's not praise from his boss that Rooney seems to want, but his walking papers. As the Daily Mail reports via the Herald Sun, according to a "United source," Rooney has accepted the Red Devils will not sell him. 

There is still time for Chelsea to try to make something happen, and Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is not giving up:

I'm not ruling this move out yet, and I doubt Rooney is either. I have to believe his attitude is in some way pointed toward helping facilitate this move. 

While I can't be sure of that, I can be sure that if this sulking continues, Rooney is going to drag his legacy through the mud—not just with Manchester United fans, but with all soccer fans. 

This was the first game of a new season, and the Red Devils are defending their EPL title and looked marvelous. This should have been an opportunity for joy and enthusiasm over the coming season. Yet Rooney couldn't even be bothered to bond and celebrate with his teammates—who have nothing to do with his possible professional locations. 

By all appearances this sulking is the result of a spoiled star placing his displeasure over the group dynamic of his team. It's one thing to voice displeasure off the pitch, but another, more reprehensible, action to remain aloof from teammates on the pitch. 

Unless Rooney finds some way to quickly become a better teammate, this kind of selfish behavior will be as prominent in fans' memories as any accomplishments he is able to rack up.