Wayne Rooney has spoken publicly about his desire to leave Manchester United this summer and placed the blame firmly at the feet of Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to play him out of position.
The 27-year-old was used as a midfielder at times last year and had a period of three games towards the tail end of the season where he played poorly.
Although Rooney had previously stated he can see himself as a midfielder in the future when he loses some of his pace, he admitted that he was disappointed with Ferguson’s decision to play him there on a regular basis so soon.
“Everyone at the club knew where I wanted to play and I think that’s why I was disappointed,” he said.
“I got told to play in midfield and I didn’t want to. I just think there had to come a point when, for my own career, I had to be a bit selfish really.
“I actually felt when I played in midfield I did OK, but I didn’t want to play there. I’ve had no problem in the past playing out of position. But I felt I deserved the right to play in my position and that wasn’t happening.
“I think, naturally, I was a bit disappointed and maybe that affected some of the games I played. I know myself that last year wasn’t my best season but there were times when I was playing in different positions. I didn’t feel I got a consistent run of games up front. Sometimes when you’re not playing in one position all the time it’s difficult to adapt.”
At the time, Rooney’s performances didn’t warrant any sort of positional preference. Robin van Persie had ousted him as top dog in a season that was up and down for Rooney.
Rooney’s claims are also steeped in hypocrisy. After United’s 3-0 away win at Newcastle, he publicly stated how happy he was at his new midfield role.
Great win today. Really enjoying my new midfield role. Always involved in the game.
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) October 7, 2012
As inconsistent as Rooney was last year, he has been superb so far in this campaign and has cited Moyes’ decision to play him further up the pitch as the main reason behind that.
He continued: “David Moyes has come in, he’s playing me up front and I’m enjoying it.
“I’m not saying I wouldn’t [go into midfield] for instance if it was the last 10 to 15 minutes of a game, if we were holding on a bit and I got asked to drop to the left, or drop back, to help see out the game.
“I’d always go in and try to help the team. I’m not saying I’d throw my arms up and not do it. I can play in midfield. Maybe when I’m a bit older, losing my legs a bit, I can go back there.”
This is the first time that Rooney has spoken out about his unhappiness at United last year and it won’t be the last. With Ferguson’s book likely to open the lid on more details around the topic, this will be a discussion that lasts all year long.