This was a tweet I wrote to Wayne Rooney yesterday:
@WayneRooney Wayne, judging by the number of tweets you get, you probably won’t read this, but I felt I needed to write it anyway.
I agree with you that The Independent are talking ‘absolute rubbish’ when they say you could be transferred this month, but there are a number of interesting things they also say, all of which are true. Starting from the beginning of your United career, a bad attitude has been plain for everyone to see. Clapping the ref in Champions League to get your first red card was the first sign that you needed to work on your attitude, but as you were still only a teenager, I and all Man Utd and England fans can forgive (and already have forgiven) you for that.
In 2006, your red card in the World Cup was another sign of a poor attitude, but admittedly Ronaldo had done quite a lot to get you sent off with the infamous wink. Six weeks later, you got yourself sent off against Porto for an elbow that wasn’t particularly malicious and I can see there wasn’t any intent. Then 4 years went by without so much a hint of the attitude that you had shown earlier in your career until August 2010, when newspapers started to leak reports and allegations of marital infidelity. In my opinion, your private life really isn’t relevant to any of this and so I won’t say any more about that.
One month later, however, you showed the biggest sign of disrespect and attitude that a player ever has (from my point of view). The worst thing about the whole situation (by far) was your criticism of the rest of the United squad. You say that David Gill “did not give [you] any of the assurances [you] were seeking about the future squad,” clearly implying that the current squad was not good enough. Now this is outrageous. The lack of respect you showed I find quite unbelievable and I have no idea how you were accepted back into that dressing room afterwards. You might as well have stood up in training, called everyone ever and said ‘You’re all a pile of wan*.” How on earth can a player who so many people look up to act in such a way? This was not anything like your red cards, because 1) you weren’t in the heat of the match and 2) you weren’t a teenager, you were a grown man, 24 years of age, and a respected member of the United and England dressing rooms. Respect is a key word in football, and you lost a hell of a lot of it for this. Why not simply say “I want to leave Manchester United because I want to try my luck abroad,” or “because my relationship with the manager has become unreconcilable.” This would have been fair enough, but no, you decided to blame it on “assurances about the continued ability of the club to attract the top players in the world.” Then you suddenly changed your mind and acted as if everything was OK again, no doubt helped by your new £250k a week contract I presume. As reported by The Independent, you also ‘flirted with the idea of joining United’s noisy neighbours’ City during your contract dispute. Seriously? Are you having a laugh? If this is true, there’s no doubt that money was the overriding factor, as it was with Tevez and few other footballers.
I know you get a lot of abuse, but what was the point in swearing at the camera against West Ham? You were winning 4-2 (coming back from 2-0 down) so why wasn’t happiness your overriding emotion? Not that you should try and change your emotions (you can’t) in any way, but swearing at the camera was utterly pointless.
And onto December 2011. Now I don’t really care what you were doing on the night of Boxing day, and you say that you were just out for dinner, but then you turn up the next day “in no fit state to train.” You are, without doubt, now one of the senior players of the Manchester United dressing room, so what on earth will they think when you turn up unfit to train and reportedly boast about your night out with Jonny Evans and Darren Gibson? You wouldn’t see anyone else in the modern game do it, not even Mario Balotelli. Scholesy? Rio? Giggsy? Absolutely not. How about those players that you were clapping in your own living room from Barcelona? No way, not in a million years. Your determination and motivation to do well for club and country should be far greater than what it is, and everyone can see that you always give your all on the pitch (except the Newcastle game which I’ll come onto) so why not do that on the training ground, every single day?
Now, the Newcastle game. James Lawton in The Independent this morning criticises only your performance, which I completely disagree with. Anyone can have a bad day, not everyone can perform every single match. But it was your effort (or lack thereof) that shined through. Even Berbatov made you look lazy, and that is saying something. Now I don’t have the stats which show how far you ran, but I’m guessing it was way, way down on the average. As Lawton puts it – “One requirement of his (Ferguson’s) players has always been to show that they are not only good but that THEY CARE (my capitals). The suspicion still has to be that Wayne Rooney may have flouted this demand once too often.” You clearly fulfil the first requirement (that you are good), because you’re United’s best player and England’s best player, there’s no doubt about that, but do you really care? Your attitude seems to suggest to don’t give a toss.
At 26, you’re now a role model for millions of people across not just Britain, but the world, and your fellow players obviously look up to you as well, so you need to look at yourself in the mirror and wonder whether you actually care, because you can be a whole lot more committed to United, trust me on that. You have the talent to match almost anyone else in the world, but it’s the mental side that’s lacking.
Want to be like Messi? Then get a grip, Wayne.