Does Rooney Have A Playing Clause In His Contract?

So I was right then.

The problem for Manchester United this season isn’t quality of signings, certainly not Jose who will bludgeon his way as always to winning something.

There are two simple issues, which I pointed out in this very column back in early August. And if they are not changed and changed sharpish, with the competition levels high in the Premier League, Man United could yet face more time in the wilderness of the Europa League zone or below.

Home Truths
Let’s tell some truths, real truths, not sugar-coated like some pundits.

Wayne Rooney is now getting special treatment from every manager who he plays for and virtually every pundit who talks about him.

Let’s start with the managers. It was obvious back in the latter days of Fergie that he tolerated rather than wanted Rooney as the focal point of the team. Some people have short memories; this is a player who was rumoured to be leaving not once but twice.


First to Man City which I still believe nearly happened bar hoodies turning up and frightening the lad into staying. And the second time where it took my former agent’s gift of brinkmanship and United’s desperation to get Rooney a £300,000 a week contract.

Look, I like Rooney, he’s a great pro and his career will go down as one of the Premier League’s greatest. But don’t kid yourself with the Lineker documentary soft voice and PR spin, Rooney and Stretford are in it for Rooney and Stretford and if anyone thinks otherwise, that reminder above should jog the memory.

Poor Pundits
So why are United and England being so loyal to a guy who Mourinho said is a 9 or 10? Pundits last night reversed (VEHICLE REVERSING, VEHICLE REVERSING) into Rooney protection mode. “He’s now a 4, he still should be in the team, etc etc.”

WHY? On what basis? Hard work? I’m sure a club like United can find a grafter who pops 20 yard passes sideways. A dynamic attacking midfielder? Nope. What about an inspirational captain who leads the team through tough times? United have just lost 3 games in a week. So why then?

Special Clause?
Money. That’s the only thing it can be. I don’t believe that players get special contract terms that dictate when fit they must be in the team, it’s mostly an urban myth. But boy,

I am coming close to believing Stretford may well have not only screwed 300k a week out of United but something alluding to what I’ve just suggested, namely if the lad is fit, he plays.

For England it’s slightly different. We are shite, have been for ages and to be fair to Rooney, he’s scored qualification goals, captained the side through transition and has always turned up, knowing an over-expectant English nation still believes we are something special. United can spend and get rid of Rooney, England can’t.

So why aren’t pundits saying all of this? Partly because many of them aren’t very good at their job. Regardless of who your friends and relationships are with players, agents, agencies and so on, as a pundit you are there to give insight from your own playing experiences good and bad. And to see the obvious!

All I’m seeing is a barrage of ex-player excuses for Rooney or even worse; they know people like me and many fans are right, but choose not to upset England and United’s golden boy.

The Facts
The truth that many of us see is this:

1. Rooney can no longer play as a goalscoring 9. United and England have better.

2. He can’t play as a creative 10. Mata does better as a sub coming from the right than Rooney currently.

3. He is holding Manchester United back and treading water in poor groups with England.

4. Most managers recently who’ve had him love him as a pro but probably think “How the f*** am I left to be the one who finishes it for him?”

5. Regarding point 4, Allardyce wasn’t a popular dressing room choice, so he’s not going to do it.

6. Jose will be thinking it but is unsure as to what to do.

7. Pep would have done it by now.

8. Players at Manchester United, to challenge for trophies, have to be the best in their position not only in the club but in the league. We all could name many players that would deliver more than Rooney.

Bench Time
This isn’t a carve up, a spiteful rant, just an acknowledgment that when you get special treatment while not earning your corn, you deserve to be dropped, from any team, in any league, at any time, whoever you are.

If United in particular stick with Rooney and don’t even drop him when he played as poorly as against Watford, the message that sends to those on the bench is “Why bother working hard here, it’s who you are not what you do.”

I don’t need to tell you that in any walk of life when that happens, you’re doomed.

Bench for club, maybe even for country. Let’s see a reaction.