Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

WHAT TO DO with Roo? ; LVG's Verbal Hand Grenade Has Again Blown Open the Debateas to Just How to Get the Best out of Reds'new Leading Man

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

WHAT TO DO with Roo? ; LVG's Verbal Hand Grenade Has Again Blown Open the Debateas to Just How to Get the Best out of Reds'new Leading Man

Article excerpt

EVEN in the madcap world that is Wayne Rooney's football life last week was pretty crazy.

In less than 48 hours the Reds and England captain went from the rare privilege of being a virtually guaranteed pick for Old Trafford boss Louis van Gaal to being publicly condemned as not being a good enough striker!

That should make for a fascinating chapter for Rooney's next book. His publishers must already be rubbing their hands.

Just when you thought there was finally a bit of serenity about the 28-yearold's career, Van Gaal goes V and throws in that bombshell before the Leicester City match.

For 33 days at the start of this season all was calm and clear with Rooney.

On August 13 he was named as United's new club captain with van Gaal saying: "Wayne has shown a great attitude towards everything he does. I have been very impressed by his professionalism and his attitude to training and to my philosophy.

"He is a great inspiration to the younger members of the team and I believe he will put his heart and soul into the captaincy."

Fifteen days later England boss Roy Hodgson followed suit and appointed him as new leader of the national side.

On September 8 he led the Three Lions to a vital Euro 2016 qualifier victory in Switzerland as England kicked off their group with a 2-0 success in what was, on paper, the toughest match of their section.

Six days later, he scored as United cruised to a 4-0 triumph against QPR - his first win with the Reds armband on.

Everything in the Rooney garden was rosy.

That picture was even glossier last Friday when Van Gaal told the media at Vhis weekly pre-match conference at Carrington that Rooney would be the first name on his team sheet every match.

"There are always players you put in a team. My captain shall always play," said the Dutch boss.

"I don't think any player is fixed. Only the captain has more privileges but no other player has privileges. Every player knows that when you see how I manage my teams."

Rooney must have travelled to Leicester full of the joys.

Then around an hour before kick-off at the King Power Stadium the United manager went in front of the Sky cameras for a prematch interview and threw in his verbal hand grenade.

"I was not so satisfied with Rooney as a striker and Mata as midfielder," Van Gaal said in explainGaal said in explainV -ing his selection which saw Rooney, Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao all deployed together. "That is why I changed. Rooney can play in more positions, he's a multifunctional player and I have tried him in a striker's position. He has played well, but not spectacular. Falcao is a striker and I think he can do it better."

Suddenly the player who is just 20 goals off overtaking Denis Law and moving up into second place in the list of United's record goalscorers and whose goal against QPR put him just 32 off knocking Sir Bobby Charlton from the No. …

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