Of course, the 3-3 draw was far more to do with the fact that United forgot that Tim Cahill is quite good in the air than it was with Rooney’s absence, but the loss of another two points does make the issue an interesting one.
In the build up to the game Sir Alex had said that the atmosphere at Goodison Park would be like ‘a nightmare’. He was, of course, referring to the reception Wayne Rooney was likely to get from the fans who most hate him after all the sordid allegations about his private life surfaced in recent weeks.
That reception seems to have been what made Sir Alex take the decision to leave Rooney out. It is hard to accept that as it seems to go completely against what I think about the character of both the manager and the player, but in this case, the facts seem to be facts.
We all know that Rooney has a temperament that can be described as somewhat fragile at best and that he would have been given a torrid time by the Everton fans, but shouldn’t Sir Alex have trusted the man believed by many to be his best player?
It may have been worse at Goodison Park than it will be elsewhere but fans all over the country will be looking forward to hurling abuse at Rooney and he is going to have to deal with that sooner rather than later. In fact, the next visitors to Old Trafford are Liverpool and the animosity between the two clubs and particularly towards former Everton man Rooney is well known to all. They will be heavily outnumbered at Old Trafford but they will certainly not let Rooney off lightly.
Fabio Capello decided that Rooney’s mental state was OK for him to play in Switzerland last week and he played reasonably well. I guess Sir Alex knows his player better and decided that he wasn’t up to playing on Saturday.
The problem is that the decision makes it look as though Rooney simply couldn’t have coped and that is hardly likely to make opposition fans go more easy on him in the coming weeks.
I fully understand that there are more important things than football and that family life is one of those. If Rooney needed time with his family to try to sort out his problems then Sir Alex was right to let him do so as any decent boss would allow their employee to do. The difficulty is the message that is being sent without any clarity being given.
Wayne Rooney is an exceptional player at his best and Manchester United will be a stronger team with him than they are without him. Having said that, Dimitar Berbatov is finally showing how good he is and on Saturday United’s problems were an inability to defend and nothing to do with going forward.
I hope that Rooney can get his head and life sorted out and that we see him back firing on cylinders soon. I am no lover of Manchester United but as a football fan I want to see the best players playing at their best. Rooney is in that category and I was sorry that Sir Alex left him out at the weekend.
What do you think? Did Sir Alex do the right thing by leaving Rooney out?
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