Desmond Kane

Rooney maturity impressive in face of Ferguson’s act of treachery

Desmond Kane

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The fairly rampaging 402 pages of Sir Alex Ferguson's autobiography give you the problem, but not a reason. What felt like 402 minutes and plenty more spent spewing invective to everyone and everything that moved at the book launch provided suspicions, but never offered his solution. It is fair to say Fergie couldn't quite get his head around the Wayne Rooney conundrum in his final year running Manchester United.

For a figure held up as the greatest man manager to adorn football, one of the obvious issues to emerge from the past few days is that Ferguson could no longer manage Rooney. That must be much to Fergie's chagrin in his private moments. Of which he can have plenty now.

The querulous Scottish martinet may never have lost the dressing room in 26 years at Old Trafford, but neither will he admit that he had lost England's brightest talent over the past 20 years. Judging by the way he handled perceived traitors in his treacherous book of revelations, Rooney would have left United this summer under the same sort of murky cloud as Roy Keane. Ferguson doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Even when he is made to look one.

If Fergie had extended his stay at United for another season, there is every chance Rooney would have been bounding around Stamford Bridge wearing a Chelsea shirt under Jose Mourinho. Or even feeding off Mesut Ozil at Arsenal. Ozil is a figure Rooney apparently urged Ferguson to sign back in 2010 before being told to more or less mind his own business with Fergie in the market for Javier Hernandez. United are still missing such a player today.

When one considers Ozil's thrilling contribution to Arsenal and the English game since his £42m transfer from Real Madrid, who was right? Ferguson or Rooney? Was it so wrong for Rooney to make such a point? Not that Ferguson has conceded he should have perhaps gone with Rooney's recommendations.

All we seem to have had over the past few days is Ferguson being right all the time. He explains why Rooney was not representing United with a trademark vigour last season, but won't admit to his own failings in failing to motivate.

"He asked away because, he said, he was not going to play in his proper position," said Ferguson. "I can understand that. That's not a problem with me. I can only go on evidence on the football field. He wasn't playing well enough.

"Now, we see Wayne Rooney. That's the one I love seeing and I am enjoying him getting back to that form. In that form, United will win most of their games."

When one considers Rooney's recent returns representing United and England, it is hardly an act of treason to suggest Ferguson got it badly wrong by leaving Rooney isolated.

David Moyes almost ended up in court before a libel case was settled for claims Rooney made in another book about his management style during their days working together at Everton. Yet there has been no willingness to hang onto bitterness from the past.

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Ferguson should have encountered similar thoughts, but there appears to be a greed for material gain at the expense of former players that hardly sit well with his claims to be a socialist. A cringeworthy interview with Jon Snow of Channel Four when some of his much cherished values collapsed in front of your very eyes was telling enough.

What sort of solidarity has he shown to his brothers at United by hanging so many out to dry? How does becoming a Sir marry with his working-class roots? This is not Tony Benn. Quite simply they don’t.

Neither does tearing down the character of people to flog a book. Coming from a working-class background, one would suggest Ferguson has betrayed his own traditions, the very spirit he claims to stand for.

There was no need to berate Liverpool players Steven Gerrard or young Jordan Henderson. There was no need to cut Rooney adrift last season.

Michael Laudrup went on record yesterday to lament Ferguson's willingness to reveal secrets of the dressing room while the Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers quite rightly pointed out that Ferguson lacked "old school values and ethics." Some people claim Rodgers has double standards after appearing in a fly on the wall documentary with Liverpool, but this was foisted upon him by the club's American owners. Ferguson had choices.

Fergie should have been chilling out in private with his wife Cathy. He should have disappeared into the background to enjoy his retirement. Whatever else is said, the timing of this autobiography has been dreadfully unhelpful to Moyes in his job as United manager. His musings are also hardly of assistance to Rooney's relationship with the supporters in claiming the player wanted out.

We have this ongoing circus of a book that is set to run and run, keeping Ferguson in the limelight when he claimed he wanted out of it. None of this has been well thought out. Especially the timing.

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But every cloud has a silver lining and all that jazz. Rooney has unearthed his best form for several seasons under Moyes, who has embraced the forward's appetite to perform with some glee. His output and energy against Real Sociedad in midweek were quite marvellous. His understanding with Ryan Giggs almost telepathic at times.

One suspects there is a silent two-fingered salute to Ferguson in there somewhere. Actions speak louder than words. It is fairly damming that Rooney has not spoken to Ferguson since he departed the scene. On the cusp of turning 28 yesterday, Rooney cut a remarkable picture of calm during an interview the other night. There was no constant touching his face when speaking or struggling to assemble words. He spoke well about such a toxic situation, and with confidence.

"That's the past, I'm looking to the future," he said. "He's come back and corrected the story that I put a transfer request in...he's gone back and proven that I didn't.

"He's obviously got his own opinion. I haven't seen him since he retired. I'm happy under the new manager. The new coach that has come in has given me a new lease of life, I'm really enjoy working under David Moyes."

While Ferguson has been busy saying, Rooney has got on with doing.

There is more to be said for Rooney than Ferguson these days. There is more to be said for living in the moment with an eye on a rosy future than living in the past. Especially when you are hardly glorying in your yesterdays.

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