Since moving to Old Trafford in 2004, the striker has had several moments of apparent uncertainty with his Red Devils future.
Latest reports by BBC Sport’s Ben Smith have quoted the player as saying that he’s “angry and confused” with his role at the club right now after David Moyes announced that he would be playing as cover should Robin van Persie ever pick up an injury.
Although the offer was swiftly rejected, doubts nonetheless remain over Rooney’s future at the Theatre of Dreams in what’s fast becoming a nightmare for all involved.
In what most Manchester United supporters will no doubt remember most fondly about their talisman, the first five years or so of Rooney’s career were smooth sailing as far as performances were concerned.
Between 2005 and 2009, both club and player were the recipients of a huge amount of silverware, which just so happened to fall in conjunction with the most fruitful years of Rooney’s career.
Winning three consecutive Premier League titles, the 2007-08 Champions League crown, a FIFA Club World Cup and numerous individual awards, Sir Alex Ferguson saw the best of his £26 million signing.
But it wasn’t to last.
In 2010, the story came out that Rooney had solicited sex from prostitute Jenny Thompson while wife Coleen was pregnant with their first son, per the Telegraph’s Matthew Moore.
The same piece confirms that this wasn’t the first time Rooney had encountered prostitution in his career, but it was the first time he was old enough to understand the gravity of his actions.
Not long after this story came out—alleged to have occurred in 2009—the forward’s first Manchester United difficulties emerged.
Rooney’s outing happened to come at the same time as he had picked up an ankle injury, but even after the player had recovered from the injury, a place on the bench or even out of the squad at times remained his only options.
As a result, Ferguson then suggested the player wanted to leave the club, citing money as the main cause for his intentions. However, after careful negotiations, the matter was resolved quite quickly, Rooney emerging on the other end as one of the world’s highest-paid players with a new five-year deal in tow.
Things went smoothly once more for a while, and two years passed before the matter of Rooney being unhappy was even close to becoming an issue again.
However, in the 2012-13 campaign, the first season with van Persie playing as a Red Devil, competition for places seemed to take its toll.
As reported by the Press Association (h/t Sports Illustrated), Rooney was left on the bench for United’s Champions League second-leg clash against Real Madrid, one of the most important fixtures of the season.
Whether due to tactics, strategy or other mitigating circumstances, the signal from Ferguson appeared to be that Rooney wasn’t to be trusted for this particular outing.
Two months later and any such speculation came to a head. Following his final home game in charge of Manchester United, Ferguson told reporters that Rooney had handed in a transfer request and wanted to leave the club, per the Daily Mail.
At the time, Rooney denied any such allegations, but things appear to have moved on since then.
Despite enjoying a comfortable relationship at one time, Rooney and Moyes parted ways at Goodison Park on shaky ground, something which came to its climax when the latter sued the former for libel damages in 2008, in reference to claims made by Rooney in his autobiography.
However, confronting that situation has been reported as one of the priorities for Moyes in his Manchester United days.
Whether or not such talks have been successful as of yet is up for debate, but one would agree the current dynamic isn’t working.
Now, we’re left with a situation where Rooney is uncertain of his role within the squad, but the players are adamant that he’s “not for sale.”
It’s true that Rooney’s talents can be great on their given day, but Moyes’ recent claims on Manchester United’s tour of Asia that no one man is bigger than the club, per the Daily Mail, are more so.
Whether or not what’s become a very strenuous relationship can be repaired, anyone knows at this point, but Rooney’s move away from his current surroundings is as likely to happen now as it ever will be.