From Strength to Strength
By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (August 14th 2013)
Three days ago Manchester United won the Community Shield 2-0. David Moyes’ first press conference as a trophy-winning manager was marred by the never-ending Wayne Rooney débâcle. Rooney has only played 45 minutes of pre-season, injuring his shoulder against Real Betis.
Moyes insists that there is no problem between him and Rooney, but the striker’s actions seem to tell a different tale.
Rooney has made no secret of his desire to leave the Red Devils for Chelsea and Manchester United have made it clear that they do not intend to sell him. Rooney, said to be ‘confused and angry’ has not submitted a transfer request – he doesn’t want to lose a loyalty bonus – but despite being ‘unfit’ for Sunday’s season opener Rooney is ready to play for England tonight.
Moyes sees no issue over Rooney playing for England, but not Manchester United. “I can absolutely assure you all I have not fallen out with him,” Moyes said. “Wayne has trained. He trained with the reserves because he asked to. He couldn’t have any physical contact, because it’s a shoulder injury, so he had a floating role, so he didn’t aggravate it. Any other message that came across was wrong.”
Manchester United’s new manager insisted that Rooney was too injured to play for his club, but that he would be able to play for England against Scotland tonight. “He’s not ready, and that will probably be apparent, but he will play a chunk of the game, and that will be great for United, because he has had no playing time. It’s a big game for Scotland, don’t forget, so you don’t think I’d send England a fit player, do you? Seriously, though, I want him to join up with England.”
This is marked change from Moyes’ predecessor, Sir Alex Ferguson, who viewed friendlies with thinly veiled hostility at best and wasn’t exactly keen on competitive internationals either, but this one could do Manchester United a favour.
Rooney cannot be match-fit so if he is injury free it will give him some playing time. “It will be great for Manchester United because hopefully Wayne will get some playing time,” Moyes said. “He wasn’t ready for today but he has a chance of being ready for Wednesday.”
“I have spoken to Roy Hodgson for about two hours in total, and I don’t see how there can be any confusion about Wayne being all right for Wednesday but not this weekend,” Moyes said. “Roy knows the situation.”
Rooney is with England, so Hodgson’s team have got more up to date information. “It will be interesting to get the feedback from our training sessions and we can see how he looks. Since he’s got over the injuries he’s not been able to train as intensively as we have, so we’ll see how that pans out.”
His training sessions are more intense than Moyes described. “He tells me that he’s been training on his own while Manchester United have had games, on some fitness work, but he hasn’t had a chance to do a session like we had today where he was involved in functional aspects of play,” Hodgson said.
Hodgson believes that Rooney no longer has injury to worry about – the issue is match-fitness.“It’s difficult to assess with the naked eye how match-fit people are, but there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s not suffering from a physical injury,” Hodgson said. “He has been fit for several days now and has trained very hard. So injury is no longer stopping him from playing.”
Tonight’s match will tell.