Mystery shoulder injuries. Misunderstood quotes. A striker who is angry and confused. It wasn’t exactly an easy summer for Wayne Rooney and Manchester United, and their relationship was on ice thinner than David De Gea.
Plenty of fans would have bitten Chelsea’s hand off for the rumoured £25 million plus add ons they offered United in the summer. But the bid was ‘immediately rejected’ and in a period of botched transfers, embarrassing bids and Spanish intruders, the strong stance to keep Wayne Rooney was one piece of inspired business by United.
- Rooney has eight goals and five assists in the league this season, meaning he has either scored or set up a goal, on average, every 85 minutes this year
- The striker has a conversion rate of 19 per cent in the league and averages more shots per game than any other United player
- Not only is Rooney topping United’s assist table, he has also played more key passes than anybody else in the squad (28). A key pass is similar to an assist, but rather than putting the ball in the onion bag, your team mate shanks it into the car park.
It’s not exactly rainbows and lollipops around the Theatre of Dreams this season but without Rooney in the form he’s in, it could be far worse.
- Taking away Rooney’s goals and assists this year, David Moyes’ side would be in 15th on 14 points, marginally ahead of Cardiff on goal difference and just one point clear of relegation
- Man Utd would have won just three games without Rooney, beating only Swansea, Crystal Palace and Sunderland
- Theoretically they would have dropped eight points, drawing with Fulham, Stoke and Arsenal, as well as getting beaten by Tottenham and Cardiff
Wayne Rooney’s summer antics might not have gone down well in many sections of Old Trafford. His struggle to stay fit, his transfer requests, and his attitude have all played a part in damaging relations in Manchester, but his form this season is crucial for United.
David Moyes would arguably have got more use out of £27.5 million by using it as kindling in his Carrington office rather than buying Marouane Fellaini, but the manager’s insistence on keeping hold of Rooney was key to keeping the Red Devils at least half-challenging for the title.
Without his star striker’s goals and assists this season David Moyes would be picking up his dole money at the job centre this Christmas and newly appointed Mike Phelan would be facing relegation six-pointers against Fulham and Sunderland in the new year *shudder*.
- How Paddy Power has put more money in your pocket than anybody else this Premier League season
- STATS: Manchester United are kings of coming from behind while Chelsea like to be on top