Ferguson and Moyes speak differently of Wayne’s world
The two can be directly compared on their handling of Rooney
“The fact is Wayne Rooney is not for sale,” Moyes said, which confirmed nothing except that Rooney will have to put in an official transfer request if he is to be sold.
Asked whether Rooney had categorically confirmed his desire to stay with United, Moyes categorically confirmed that he had been training really well.
The friction between Rooney and Ferguson was rooted in their differing assessments of his recent form: Rooney thought it was okay, Ferguson disagreed. Moyes’s comments on Friday appeared to place him in the Ferguson camp as he talked about Rooney in terms that suggested the player was in need of rehabilitation.
“We are working and trying everything to get Wayne to the level where we think he should be...we are trying to get him back to the Wayne Rooney we know.”
Unusually good shape
Nemanja Vidic confirmed that Rooney has returned from holiday in unusually good shape. Is that because he has accepted Ferguson’s judgment and resolved to do better, or because he is fired by the desire to avenge the humiliations of last season, perhaps by moving to another club and winning the title?
“It’s interesting to think that Wayne is only 40 or 50 goals behind Sir Bobby Charlton and I think 40 behind Denis Law,” said Moyes, pointing out a fact that you suspect is entirely uninteresting to Rooney himself. When was the last time he thought about the records of Charlton or Law?
Today’s players set little store by old statistics. If they watch the old footage of Real Madrid’s 7-3 defeat of Eintracht Frankfurt in the 1960 European Cup final, Ferenc Puskas’s paunch will leave a deeper impression on them than his four goals.
They know the distance footballers cover in a match has doubled since the days of Charlton and Law, who scored many of their goals against defenders whose bellies were splitting with steak and chips.
Moyes warmed to his historic theme: “If I was Wayne I would look at the legends who have played at this club. You can see their pictures at the training ground – George Best, Bobby Charlton, Roy Keane. Wayne is not too far away from that.”
It’s hard to see that line of talk having much impact on a man who already considers himself the equal of those legends. Moyes may be enraptured with United’s history, but footballers like Rooney are concerned only with the present and the future, and right now that may look brighter elsewhere.