It’s been a tricky month for Wayne Rooney. Despite constant criticism from Manchester United fans over the last few years, and the generally accepted notion that his performances and contributions to the club have dropped off, the club’s captain has been a mainstay in United’s starting XI for the last twelve years. But since the club’s 4-1 win over reigning Premier League champions Leicester City in September, Rooney has only started two games for his club.
First was an EFL Cup tie with Northampton Town, and second was the 4-1 win over Fenerbahce in the Europa League this past week; neither were big games that Jose Mourinho wished to prioritise, leading many to think that Rooney isn’t seen as a key part of the Portuguese’s plans at the club. Just to make matters worse, interim England manager Gareth Southgate dropped Rooney for his country’s World Cup qualifier with Slovenia, further lending strength to the idea that the former Evertonian’s best days are behind him.
As such, rumours that Rooney could leave the club before his contract runs out in 2018 have started to swirl, with The Mirror reporting that former England boss Sven Goran Eriksson is keen to bring the United captain over to China. The Swede is in charge of Super League side Shanghai SIPG, and the owners of the club are said to be monitoring Rooney’s situation with a view to offering him a deal this coming January worth £80m. The contract, which was offered to Rooney at the start of this year is worth a mouth-watering £500,000 a week, and would be substantially more than anything he could earn elsewhere.
It’s a big decision for Rooney; such a move would surely end his days of playing for England, and he has frequently intimated that he doesn’t believe that his career is quite over yet. Given his preference to remain in the North West, and his three sons and wife, it feels like a deal would be unlikely, and that a move to Major League Soccer in the United States would be a better fit.
Either way, it seems as if Rooney’s days at Old Trafford as an automatic starter are in danger of being over. United have better options both at striker and at number 10, which suggests that a way back into Mourinho’s plans on a permanent basis may only come about through injury. As such, Rooney has a massive decision to make regarding his future.