Wayne Rooney’s track record clearly shows where his loyalties lie
Manchester United striker will look after number one if the club allow him to
Speculation of a swap deal involving Juan Mata sounds plausible but still entails United watching Rooney at Chelsea.
We have been here with Rooney before, of course. In 2010, having been prepared apparently to join City, Rooney questioned United’s signings and ambition. After a week of turbulence, he signed a new five-year contract on improved terms. He apologised but the fans did not forget. You can imagine Ferguson hardly forgot either.
Rooney got his money and, as of last year, he received what he might have thought would be a striking partner. But Van Persie soon became number one. The Dutchman played in every league game, Rooney started 22. Now Rooney is still not in the team, albeit a ropey injury tale has been cited.
This will leave the player understandably questioning his future, particularly if Mourinho has told him he would be starting every week at Chelsea. And even though Mourinho has nabbed Willian from under Tottenham’s nose, Rooney would still represent a coup.
It all makes for intrigue and few teamsheets will carry the anticipation of United’s on Monday night. Where and if Rooney’s name appears on it should be telling but if it is absent then Chelsea’s next Premier League game could be even more fascinating. It will be after the international break. It’s at Everton.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Celtic badly need to show their creative side
Neil Lennon sounded upbeat and defiant following Celtic’s 2-0 defeat to Shakhtar Karagandy on Tuesday, in contrast to the television commentary coming from ITV which used words such as “embarrassing” to describe the result and some of Celtic’s defending.
What Lennon and Celtic need to be in the return leg in Glasgow on Wednesday is creative. Aside from Celtic’s dawdling defending in Karagandy, what distinguished the Kazakhstan team was their discipline and shape.
If they could get 12 men behind the ball at Parkhead, they would.
Had Celtic taken just one of their chances then Wednesday would hold nothing like the anxiety it does from here.
But now they need to score three times and given the financial implications the stakes are enormous, for club, players, manager and Scottish football.
At the moment last season’s Champions League campaign is viewed with pride at Celtic. Exit on Wednesday and the view will begin to turn to nostalgia.
And it’s much too soon for that.
Considering he cost €17.5 million from Roma, Pablo Osvaldo’s transfer to Southampton this week came under the radar. But if he is as good as the fee suggests, and Sunderland defend corners as they did against Fulham last Saturday, then Southampton can make it two wins from two today.
How the Saints accommodate Rickie Lambert and Osvaldo is a local debate. By five o’clock Sunderland defender John O’Shea is likely to have his own opinion on that.