15 Aug 2014

Rooney Captaincy Divides Opinion

With the dawn of the 2014/15 Premier League season in sight, there has been a shake up at Old Trafford ahead of the new campaign. Out went tactically challenged David Moyes and in came assertive Dutchman Louis van Gaal who now has the task of picking up the pieces as he attempts to install the fire back into the bellies of the fallen champions.

New additions Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw have arrived to bring youth and creativity to the team, but the recent announcement that Wayne Rooney will succeed Nemanja Vidic as the full time club captain (with Darren Fletcher as vice captain) has divided opinion hugely between the reds' supporters.

Some will say that Rooney was the obvious choice, that's when you take into consideration the experience United have lost this summer, Ferdinand, Vidic and Patrice Evra have a left for pastures new, also Ryan Giggs hung up his boots to focus fully on his job as Louis van Gaals assistant. But the Rooney appointment divides opinion and this goes back to that day in October 2010 when he handed in a transfer request, news that tore through Old Trafford like a tornado, it seems a section of fans simply can't forgive and forget that moment.

Although Rooney performed a u-turn which subsequently made him the clubs highest paid player, the manner, and the fact he was preparing to swap red for blue, left a bitter taste, you could probably compare it to being cheated on by your missus.

When Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, he took a parting shot at Rooney by claiming in a SkySports interview that Rooney had once again asked to leave the club, a claim that has never really reached a convincing conclusion as to whether he actually did, but it certainly added more fuel to the fire.

It seemed, like some supporters, Sir Alex simply could not forgive Rooney for his act. It's the reason he overlooked Rio Ferdinand for the full time captaincy, instead choosing Nemanja Vidic, Ferdinand's 'coincidental meeting' with Peter Kenyon in a London restaurant ensured that he wouldn't wear the armband on a regular basis.

On the pitch, Rooney's commitment and attitude simply can't be faulted, he's a player who gives his all and is desperate to win and succeed, it's the transfer request that has tarnished his career at the club, this is sadly the reality of modern day footballers, who let agents control them like puppets for financial gain.

Many though Louis van Gaal would choose his trusted country man Robin van Persie, he was seen as the most experienced and obvious option, but his decision to choose Rooney will be based on what he has seen in training and his influence at the club he has been at for 10 years.

When Wayne Rooney leads Manchester United out this season, it will be viewed as a symbolic moment, yes, he's worked hard to achieve this, but in the back of your head you just wonder if things don't run smoothly under the new management, at what point will the captain look to jump ship, AGAIN?