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Wayne Rooney's Future at Manchester United Lies in David Moyes' Hands

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 20: Everton manager David Moyes celebrates with Wayne Rooney after Rooney's goal during the FA Barclaycard Premiership match between Everton and Leicester City at Goodison Park on December 20, 2003 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Gary M.Prior/Getty Images)
Gary M. Prior/Getty Images
Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IMay 21, 2013

When David Moyes was announced as the successor to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, Wayne Rooney's tone may have changed.

Rooney may have requested a summer transfer in April, according to Jamie Jackson of the Guardian, but that was before Ferguson announced his retirement and the 27-year-old's former manager at Everton took over.

Now, the man who watched Rooney begin to emerge on the pitch before departing for United may be able to keep United.

It's a funny twist, one that would be far more humorous if Moyes is able to convince Rooney to stay.

The biggest obstacle will be Rooney's demand to be guaranteed his natural starting spot on the club, per his reported conversation with Ferguson in April. This past season under Ferguson, he wasn't able to play his preferred forward position because of the acquisition of Robin van Persie.

Perhaps what may have been even more hard to take was the fact that he wasn't included in United's biggest game of the season, the Champions League last 16 leg against Real Madrid at Old Trafford in February. Such a move will sting even the most hardened veterans.

In reality, you can't expect United, or Moyes, to cave in to Rooney's demands. He's not going to start at forward over van Persie—that's just ludicrous. United fans can only hope that Rooney and Moyes come to terms and Rooney accepts his place as a centre attacking midfielder.

And it's not like Rooney didn't make an impact as a midfielder for United last season. Quite the opposite. He was the second-best player on the pitch for the club beyond van Persie. He was second on United in goals (12) and first in assists (10). Perhaps if he can understand he's still a vital part of the attack, he will back off on his demands a bit.

That's where Moyes comes in.

The best chance to keep Rooney (and more importantly, keep him happy) is to convince him that he is greatly valued as a midfielder on the club. Guaranteeing him that he won't be left off the club's biggest game of the season may be a place to start.

Rooney's unhappiness appears to stem from not feeling valued. If Moyes can assure him he will be prized under his watch, that could ease Rooney's stance on playing forward.

Moyes—whose contract officially begins on July 1—has a lot of work to do at Old Trafford. By the looks of things, he's getting a head start.

He's going to need it when it comes to negotiating with Rooney.


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