x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Rooney settled again at United under Moyes

England striker happy to play up front once again after speculation he may leave club in the close season.

Wayne Rooney was unhappy about not getting enough opportunities to play under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson. Phil Noble / Reuters
Wayne Rooney was unhappy about not getting enough opportunities to play under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson. Phil Noble / Reuters

Wayne Rooney believes he had to adopt a selfish approach to make the most of his career.

Sick of repeatedly being played away from the central forward areas the 27 year old feels he is best suited to, it seems Rooney’s Manchester United career has been saved by Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.

There certainly appeared to be little future for Rooney with the Scot in charge.

Yet under David Moyes he is flourishing again, restored to the position he likes best.

“There came a point where I had to be a bit selfish for my own career,” said Rooney.

“Everyone at the club knew where I wanted to play. That wasn’t happening.

“I’ve had no problem playing out of position in the past, but I’m a forward and I felt I deserved the right to play in my position.

“David Moyes has come in, he’s playing me up front, and I’m enjoying it.”

The knowledge Ferguson, who was handed a seat on the board by United and retained at an estimated cost of £2 million (Dh11.7m), would remain an influential figure led the former Everton man to conclude his days were numbered.

Instead, Moyes made keeping Rooney his major summer target.

And with United refusing to countenance selling to a major domestic rival, he had no choice but to stay.

As Ferguson remains in the background and easily capable of causing major difficulty should he so wish, Rooney’s future is not entirely resolved.

But Ferguson did make placatory statements in his United States TV interview last week and although Rooney’s contractual situation – he has less than two years to run on his current deal – is also uncertain, it now appears, more than at any other stage, he will be staying at United.

“I know from the outside looking in it might not have seemed like that, but I have been settled all summer,” he said.

“I spoke with the people who matter at the club and we knew what we were doing. The club made that clear.

“My wife had a new child and I’ve been really happy.

“I’m not going to go on saying I wanted to stay or I wanted to leave.

“I just want to concentrate on my football. We’ll see what happens after that.”

Rooney’s comments endorse the word that came out of United’s training ground very early in the summer that he was looking sharper than he had done for any pre-season in years.

It was Ferguson’s belief if Rooney missed one game he needed two to get fit.

Under Moyes’ training regime that does not appear to be the case.

“The training has been so hard,” said Rooney.

“We’ve done a lot of different types of training, a lot more running; long running, quicker running, sharper running.

“That’s been of benefit to me. I feel as fit as I have done at any point.”

De Gea impresses Van der Sar

Edwin van der Sar believes David de Gea, his successor, is one of the key reasons behind Manchester United winning last season’s Premier League.

Van der Sar closed out his career in style at Old Trafford, winning four league titles, two FA Cups and a Uefa Champions League before hanging up his gloves.

De Gea was given the unenviable task of the replacing the for mer Holland international two years ago, with United making him the world’s second most expensive goalkeeper aged just 20.

His performances after joining from Atletico Madrid were heavily criticised, but he has risen in stature and shone as Sir Alex Ferguson capped his final season with the league title.

De Gea’s performances saw him selected for the PFA Premier League Team of the Year and Van der Sar is full of praise for the man that replaced him.

“It is unbelievable,” said the former goalkeeper, now Ajax marketing director. “He came from different league, he was young. He was 20 when he came.

“He came from Spain, he didn’t speak the language. There is different food, different tactics, different methods of training.

“Corners and free-kicks, balls in the box – that is different to the Spanish league. It was normal he could have some troubles in the beginning.

“I think the way he turned the corner from January onwards has been a real benefit for United and one of the two or three reasons they won the league.

“His physique is better. He worked really well with Eric Steele [the former goalkeeping coach] and the physical coaches and that is the way you improve.

“He is still so young but already experienced. Hopefully he will get a chance in the national team also.”

De Gea is already impressing this season, pulling off a world-class save in United’s 2-1 win at Sunderland on Saturday.

It was just their third league win of the season and leaves them ninth in the standings, a point off newly-promoted Hull.

That is hardly the position David Moyes will have wanted to be in after replacing Ferguson, but Van der Sar is not concerned.

“We have had so much success over the years with Ferguson and not even he won the league all the time,” he said, speaking at the Leaders in Football conference.

“There is a chance that he might not win in the first season or even the second season, but hopefully they have faith in what he can do.

“I know the directors and the owners are not panicking quickly, so I don’t see a problem.”

sports@thenational.ae