When the whole Wayne Rooney story broke last week one of my primary concerns was how would it affect his performances as well as us as a team. Coming up against Everton and Liverpool in the league many wondered if he would be in the right frame of mind to face the two Mersey side clubs as he would surely be in for some stick.
It was suggested that he would be left out of the team against Everton yesterday and although this was neither confirmed or denied personally I felt he should play. Wayne is a big boy and has matured a lot more than people give him credit for. Although it wasn’t as vicious as Everton would have been, I was impressed with how he handled himself in the face of the Chelsea fans booing him in the Community Shield, not getting caught up instead speaking with his feet. Yet in the same breath I understand those who felt it would be best for him to be left out as it would turn the game into the Wayne Rooney show rather than Man Utd vs Everton.
When it was announced Wayne was left out of the squad this morning the sharks sensed blood.
Leaving Rooney out and shielding him from Everton was just testament to Sir Alex’s management. People can say what they want in terms of him and how he has changed as time has gone on but when it is down to looking after his players he is still one of the finest and he was vindicated in his decision when we scored 3 goals away against Everton.
Last season we were told that we couldn’t do anything without Rooney and today we put that to bed with 3 goals away from home against a team that played better than the 18th position that they occupied at the start of the game but not for the first time defensive frailty cost us and we shipped 2 late goals, drawing a game that we should have comfortably won.
Last I checked Wayne Rooney is a striker but somehow Rooney’s absence was cited as the reason we dropped the points by some journos namely Henry Winter and thus they had the story they so sorely sought as Winter stated:
‘Unbelievable….Rooney decision come back to haunt Ferguson’
and followed that up with:
‘Football bloody hell as a great Scot once said. Epic resilience by Everton but Rooney omission under scrutiny. One player dropped & 2 points’
His comments smacked of arrogance as well as ignorance and showed whether Rooney played or was absent, it was always going it wouldn’t matter as what was a football game was always going to be denigrated to a soap opera, in this case ignoring the fact that it was circumstances that would have been beyond Rooney’s control that caused us to drop points.
The whole idea of leaving Rooney out was to take the circus atmosphere out of the game and allow us to focus on the game professionally. Although we dropped points there were some real high points in the game such as Scholes continued good form, Nani’s role in two of the goals, Berbatov’s continued goal scoring so it’s unfortunate that some narrow minded people can’t see the bigger picture and will simply refer to the fact Rooney didn’t take to the field today due to a non footballing reason.