For a player who has said very little all summer, Wayne Rooney has attracted an extraordinary amount of media attention over the past four months.
First it became known he wanted to leave Manchester United, and then he stayed. A report from Adam Crafton and John Edwards of the Daily Mail sparked new fuss over his future in midweek—yet in all three cases Rooney had actually said the sum total of nothing.
However, less than 48 hours after scoring his 200th United goal, Rooney expressed his faith and admiration for the way new boss David Moyes works, providing a strong indication his future belongs at Old Trafford. David McDonnell of the Daily Mirror provides the quotes:
I feel great. The training is a bit different under the new manager—I remember it from Everton, it's more intense. That's helping me. I feel good and am glad to be out playing.
He's a great manager and thoroughly deserves this job because of what he did at Everton. It's good to work under him and hopefully be successful together.
Rooney was never heard stating his desire to leave United. That came from former boss Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of last season.
He also never went on record saying he didn’t want to join Chelsea. That situation rather imposed itself upon him, partially through United’s refusal to sell, but also thanks to the support he received in the home game against the Blues.
The England man still will not comment on what he actually wants, despite the best efforts of ITV’s Gabriel Clarke:
However, two myths were quashed in the rare interview with the national media, during which Rooney insisted he has no problem with both Moyes and Robin van Persie.
The Dutch forward has established himself as the main man at Old Trafford with his incredible form. Under Ferguson, that often led to Rooney being sidelined in favour of the 4-3-3 formation that operates with one striker.
However, Moyes has paired Van Persie and Rooney together, with the England man slightly deeper than his teammate. The partnership almost produced an early Goal of the Season contender against Crystal Palace, when Van Persie volleyed Rooney’s searching pass against the bar.
I've seen things said over the summer, but me and Robin are friends off the pitch. There's no problem between me and Robin at all. We're great friends and we want to help each other and be successful.
I think the manager has made it clear that he wants one up and one behind, and whatever way round that is it doesn't matter to me.
It's different [to playing with Cristiano Ronaldo]. Ronaldo played out wide most games and I was on the other side, out wide. We were both playing off the front man. This is different with Robin. We dovetail well and try and help each other score goals.
There is still no firm clarification from Rooney that he sees his long-term future at United and no confirmation that he is besotted with the club—unable to even contemplate leaving.
Smoke often indicates fire, and Ferguson’s revelation that the United No. 10 wanted to leave last May was surely made on solid fact.
However, Ferguson has gone while Rooney has stayed. That’s the only fact that remains right now, and the player’s affirmation of the Moyes regime is a positive sign. Rooney can only hope his goals create the headlines for the rest of the season.