With the arrival of Robin van Persie this summer from Arsenal, things were always going to be very interesting in regards to the Manchester United strike force for the season ahead.
Certainly the addition of a player like RVP to their ranks can, in reality, do no side any real harm. However, the repercussions of the move may have a damaging effect on the hierarchy that most United fans have come to love and accept after the past seven or eight years.
For a while now, Wayne Rooney has been not only the Red Devil’s most consistent player, but also the Barclays Premier League’s. As such, this has led to the Liverpudlian being the first name on the team sheet both for United and for the national team since his arrival at the club back in 2004.
Rooney has always been secure in the knowledge that he is the “top dog” at Old Trafford, and as such, has never really lost concentration or faced a real challenge before.
Sir Alex Ferguson believes that this year that may all be very different.
Younger players like Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez are now starting that journey toward the peak of their footballing ability, and Rooney is slowly beginning that decline. It may even be the scenario that Wayne is left out in favour of not only van Persie, but also a few more established names at the club.
Speaking with the Belfast Telegraph, Fergie commented on this possible swing of power:
Being the kind of young lads they are, they’re desperate to establish themselves in our first team,
That is what competition is. We had it in 1999. It did a lot of good for [strikers Andy] Cole and [Dwight] Yorke because they knew [Teddy] Sheringham and [Ole Gunnar] Solskjaer wanted to play and they did get a lot of football.
It seems, then, that for the first time since he left Everton for the tablecloth army, Wayne Rooney is under genuine pressure for his place in that starting XI.
Competing with RVP is hard enough without the supreme young talents of Welbeck and Hernandez also challenging for his spot. Can Wayne cope with this pressure and maintain his place at the top of the United fold?