Rooney’s future plans of growing concern to David Moyes
Striker to consider future options carefully as champions in real struggle to seal a top four spot
Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney shows his dejection after the final whistle following his team’s 2-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA
David Moyes has concerns over Wayne Rooney’s immediate and longer term future, with the Manchester United manager admitting he must wait and see if the striker will consider signing a contract extension in the summer should they fail to qualify for the Champions League.
In the short term, Rooney’s groin injury means he will miss tomorrow’s FA Cup game against Swansea City at Old Trafford and it could also sideline him for Tuesday evening’s Capital One Cup semi-final first leg at Sunderland.
The forward has also entered the final 18 months of a reputed €360,000-a-week deal with the uncertainty about his future compounded by his being reluctant, it is understood, to enter any discussions until after the World Cup.
United’s 2-1 home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on New Year’s Day left the champions 11 points behind the leaders, Arsenal, and increased doubts about their ability to finish in the top four. The champions are five points off fourth-placed Liverpool. At 28, Rooney is conscious he has only one major move left so wants to weigh his options carefully.
The Liverpudlian is enjoying one of the finest campaigns of a United career that is approaching a decade. Last season he was dropped and played out of position by Alex Ferguson but Rooney has been restored to the side’s focal point due to Moyes’s faith in him and Robin van Persie’s continuing injury problems. All of this has strengthened Rooney’s position with regard to his next move and the prospect of playing for a club not in the Champions League may not be palatable.
Asked how confident Moyes would be of Rooney signing fresh terms if United did not finish in the top four, the Scot said: “Well, we would have to wait and see what would happen if that situation arose.”
Moyes, though, believes Rooney is happy at the club.
“I thought if you looked at his performances you’d have to say he’s certainly playing at his best.”
After the loss to Tottenham Moyes said Rooney was carrying the groin injury and that he may miss matches due to it. The the forward was pictured leaving Manchester’s Bridgewater hotel holding a DVD containing the results of a scan.
While Moyes did not confirm the length of time Rooney may be out he did say that the striker will miss Swansea’s visit to Old Trafford. “He’s got a groin injury and won’t be available for the game,” said the manager, though he added that there was a chance he would be fit for Sunderland.
Van Persie, who has a thigh problem, and Ashley Young, who hurt a shoulder against Spurs, are also unavailable for Swansea, along with Phil Jones, Rafael Da Silva, Nani and Marouane Fellaini.
But Moyes insists a growing injury list will not affect his transfer window plans this month.
With Michael Carrick only just back after an Achilles injury and neither Rio Ferdinand nor Nemanja Vidic seemingly capable of playing an extended run of games, the Red Devils could easily find themselves short of bodies as the battle for honours intensifies.
However, Moyes will not be playing a weakened team this weekend given United’s status as record 11-time winners of the FA Cup – even if the last of those triumphs came a decade ago. “For this club not to have won the FA Cup for 10 years is a bit of surprise,” he said.
“It’s something we will try to do and we will do everything we possibly can to try to get through on Sunday.”