Robin Van Persie received all the accolades for helping Manchester United silence the ‘noisy neighbours’ by claiming a record 20th title, and rightly so, as the Dutchman went on have one of his best seasons in the Premier League.
Persie scored 26 times in 38 appearances for United which made him the highest goal scorer for the 2012/13 season of the Premier League, and it also won him the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year at the club’s end-of-season awards.
This was followed by a common belief among the Premier League fans that it was Robin Van Persie alone who won Manchester United the 20th title, to which I strongly disagree.
Manchester United had 20 different goal-scorers in this season, which is more than any other team in the history of Premier League.
Back in the 2011/12 season, Wayne Rooney had a brilliant time scoring 27 times in 34 appearances and he was soon considered as one of the most important members of the Manchester United squad. The dynamic Manchester United talisman was considered as important as Cristiano Ronaldo had been to the club; he was not just a striker, but was someone around whom Manchester United’s game would revolve.
Since 2011, Wayne Rooney has played as a striker, an attacking midfielder and even as a central midfielder, thus proving his versatility as a complete forward who can adjust his game according to the needs of the team.
If Wayne Rooney was happy playing in a midfield role for United then what probably could be the reason that Rooney has asked to leave Old Trafford the second time in less than three years?
On being asked to why Wayne Rooney wanted a move out of Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson said: “He’s not happy being taken off a couple of times this season, but Rooney in top form wouldn’t have been taken off.”
Rooney was unhappy over being left out of the squad for the Champions League clash with Real Madrid, which finally led him to making a decision of making a move out of Old Trafford. After the game, no one could even question Sir Alex’s decision to exclude him from the playing XI as the move to play Welbeck in place of Rooney turned out to be great one.
Rooney was overshadowed this season by summer signing Robin Van Persie and the blaze of publicity was directed for Persie, which, in corollary, got Rooney backlash from certain sections of the media.
The crowd at Old Trafford, too, was now singing chants of Robin Van Persie, and Rooney no longer seemed to be the main man behind Manchester United’s success. I personally find this as one of the main reasons behind Rooney not wanting to continue at United.
In his nine years at Old Trafford, Wayne Rooney has helped Manchester United win five Premier League titles and a Champions League title. Rooney has the ability to perform for the club and despite the arrival of Robin Van Persie, he surely contributed this season by scoring some crucial goals and providing vital assists.
Rooney, 27, might want a fresh start to his career and he is entitled to take the decision about his future. It would be very hard for David Moyes to replace a player of his talent or for a manager of any club for that matter; but as a United fan, I would personally take this as a positive step as it would pave the way for other talented youngsters to come to the fore.
After all no player, no matter how good, is bigger than the club.