Wayne Rooney Now Free to Focus on Football with Transfer Drama Behind Him

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Wayne Rooney Now Free to Focus on Football with Transfer Drama Behind Him
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Star striker Wayne Rooney must feel more at peace with the idea of playing for Manchester United than he has for the past four months.

For United, it couldn't come at a better time.

Though a bloody training ground accident Saturday, when an accidental collision with Phil Jones sent Rooney to hospital with a forehead laceration according to The Mirror, kept the striker out of Sunday’s clash with Liverpool, his place with the Red Devils is now settled for the time being.

As the 2013-14 Premier League season approached, his tumultuous relationship with retiring manager Sir Alex Ferguson, followed by a rumour-filled transfer window, clouded Rooney's future at Old Trafford.
Rooney was linked to Chelsea, Arsenal and other clubs abroad at various points this summer.

Now, he's linked only to David Moyes' starting lineup. 

Rooney chose not to hand in an official transfer request before the Sept. 2 deadline, Jamie Jackson of The Guardian reported. The decision effectively ended talk that his discomfort with the club had reached a breaking point.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Further clarifying the situation, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said Friday that his pursuit of the Englishman was over.

"For all parties, it's finished," Mourinho said during a press conference after Chelsea’s penalty kicks defeat to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Super Cup, according to Sky Sports. "I feel everyone has the right to show his life, his future and I respect that."

Heading into the final two years of the five-year contract he signed in 2010, Rooney’s long-term commitment to stay at Old Trafford remains unclear.

But at the moment, nine years and a day since he first joined the Red Devils from Everton, Rooney has a chance to reignite his career by helping United compete for league and international dominance over the next few months.

As this tweet from Epic Football makes clear, Rooney has aged since he first held up his United jersey for a photo op:

What hasn't changed much, though, is Rooney's ability to contribute on the pitch.

Moyes maintains that the 27-year-old forward is a big part of United's future both now and in the long-term. Although the transfer rumours and Rooney's preseason hamstring injury got their marriage off to a rocky start, the commencement of Premier League action re-shifted attention.

As reported by Mark Froggatt of ManUtd.com, Moyes was firm in his praise of Rooney on Friday.

Michael Steele/Getty Images

"I felt he played very well the other night and he's looking in good condition and is mentally in good shape too," Moyes said. "We'll do everything we possibly can to keep that going and need him to keep performing well. At the moment, he's in good shape."

Rooney recorded two assists in the Red Devils’ opening-match win over Swansea City after coming on as a second-half sub. He then turned in a standout performance as a starter in a draw with Chelsea.

Coming off a season in which he was one of only four EPL players to record double-digit assists and goals, it's clear Rooney is in the prime of his career.

According to this tweet from Metro Sport, Rooney's importance to United cannot be overstated:

With the transfer drama behind him, Rooney is free to focus on football. The excitement—or dismay, depending upon your perspective—of player movement can be a distraction, but at the end of the day, focusing on the game is what players are paid to do.

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Early indications are that Rooney will be a productive player yet again at Old Trafford this year.

With a second consecutive EPL title and other honours on the line, United needs a supreme performance from Rooney alongside Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck and the rest of the club’s talented roster.

Distractions are inevitable in sports. Rooney shouldn't be one at Old Trafford, at least for the immediate future. That should do wonders for the club's psyche moving forward.

Follow B/R's Ethan Grant on Twitter. 

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