Rooney wanted Ferguson to sign Özil in 2010
Scot reiterates that the England striker ‘asked away’ after final game of last season
Alex Ferguson and Manchester United’s new signing Wayne Rooney in 2004. Photograph: Gareth Copley/PA Wire.
Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson with Wayne Rooney before the trophy presentation last season. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Wayne Rooney challengedAlex Ferguson over why he hadn’t pursued Mesut Özil at the height of the stand-off that almost saw the striker leave for Manchester City in 2010, the former Manchester United manager has revealed.
Ferguson, who also reiterates that Rooney “asked away” the day after the final game of last season amid frustration at being left out of the side and substituted, gave the centre-forward short shrift at the meeting.
In his book, My Autobiography, Ferguson says he felt Rooney was being controlled by his agent Paul Stretford during the protracted episode, which ended with the player signing a new contract.
Ferguson felt Rooney was “sheepish” during the confrontation, in which he said United should have pursued Özil when he signed for Real Madrid from Werder Bremen, and had been “programmed in what he was trying to say”.
Ferguson is full of praise for Rooney’s natural ability, revealing that United tried to snatch him from Everton at 14 and 16, but also makes frequent reference to his physique.
“With that kind of physique it was hard to imagine him playing into his 30s,” says Ferguson, revealing that when he re-signed in 2010 he imagined him morphing into a midfielder.
Ferguson claims it was a mistake for Roy Hodgson to allow Rooney to take a week’s holiday before Euro 2012 because “he was never the sort who could take days off”.
“He would receive no leniency from me. I would hammer him for any drop in condition,” writes Ferguson, who is withering about his contribution in his final season.
Despite occasional flashes of brilliance, he felt Rooney was “struggling to get by people” and had “lost some of his old thirst”.
“I left him to discuss his future with David Moyes, hoping to see many more great performances from him at Old Trafford,” concludes Ferguson.
Ironically, Özil was one of the transfer targets passed over by Moyes during a difficult transitional summer for United and ended up joining Arsenal for €50m.