By Neil James: Michael Owen has said that Wayne Rooney’s omission from last night starting line-up will come as a big blow for the striker as Rooney was dropped for the crucial second-leg Champions League game, which saw United bow out of the Champions League losing 2-1 on the night. The player only featured in the last 17 minutes and had he started the game, maybe the result would have been a different outcome.
Alex Ferguson decided to start with Danny Welbeck ahead of Wayne Rooney, a decision I think has backfired on the manager.
Had Rooney been involved from the start, he would have had a big influence on the game and I think they would win the game with having both Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney in attack.
With United’s biggest game of the season and for the manager to change his team around and not include Rooney, the striker might believe that manager does not have as much faith in him as he thought.
“For Rooney not to start is a real kick in the teeth and it’s got to be a big worry for him,” Owen told Talksport. “It’s the biggest game of the season and the manager has shuffled his pack and not included him.
“Wayne will take it one of two ways. He will either get his head down, try to improve and force his way back into the team, or he’ll think, ‘The manager has not picked me for the biggest game, he obviously doesn’t fancy me’, and it might not be the end of the story.”
Alex Ferguson has said before that Rooney needs to keep playing to stay match fit and if the striker misses some games, it takes a while for him to get back up to speed, this was the reason given for Rooney being a substitute last night.
Two years ago, Wayne Rooney famously threatened to quit Old Trafford and accused the club of failing to match his own ambitions. It was suggested that Rooney wanted to sign for fierce rivals Manchester City at the time, but Ferguson managed to convince the player to stay with United.
I guess this is something Fergie will not forget in a hurry.
Michael Owen was a former teammate of the striker, he spent three years at Old Trafford and in all his with United, Owen has said he never saw any problem with the relationship between Fergie and Rooney.
“When I was at Manchester United their relationship was very good, they talked, shared jokes and there were no problems whatsoever,” said Owen. “I would be surprised if it was something of that nature [a falling-out], but the decision to leave him out isn’t going to help if it is that.”
If Wayne Rooney was to leave United, Michael Owen feels there is only a handful of clubs that the player could join.
“Sometimes when you’re at the level he is at you don’t have many options,” said Owen. “If you are a mediocre player you have 20 teams in England and abroad that you can move to.
“If Wayne Rooney moves, where does he go to? Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Chelsea and PSG, there’s only half a dozen teams.
“It’s just speculation though. He’s been dropped for one game and I’m sure he will bounce back.
“Obviously Wayne has got to get his head down now and start recapturing his best form. He’s certainly got the right attitude and ability to get back into the manager’s thoughts.”