Rooney "ready to accept new role" at Man Utd

SoccerBy Sunday World
Rooney getting used to a reduced role at Man Utd
Rooney getting used to a reduced role at Man Utd

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney is happy to adapt to a new role at the club after he was dropped from the first team for Saturday's game against Leicester.

Rooney was left out of United's starting line-up by boss Jose Mourinho after days of speculation suggesting he would be left on the bench for the vital clash against the Premier League champions.

The striker made a late appearance in a match that saw United turn in their best performance of the season, as they stormed to a 4-1 win after a sparkling first half performance saw them score four times without reply.

The omission of Rooney sparked inevitable suggestions that he would look for a move away from United, but his advisers have made it clear that he is content to remain at the club and fight for his place in Mourinho's line-up.

Rooney's former United team-mate Gary Neville is among those backing the forward to play a key role at the club in the coming years, as he suggests he will be able to adapt to the reality that his first team place is no longer guaranteed. 

"This is a transition into a new phase of his career, where he's potentially got to play a different way," stated Sky Sports pundit Neville.

"No player at 22 is the same at 32, 33, 34. If you look at Paul Scholes, he went from a marauding midfield to a holding midfield player, Steven Gerrard the same, Giggs from a flying winger to a central midfield player.

"Rooney's going through that period now. I think potentially there will be a little bit of relief for him, in the sense of the scrutiny around him in the last week.

"It's how Wayne Rooney reacts to it. There will come a point where he will have to make that decision of either playing every week or coming to that point in his career where he may come out of the team one week, then go back in and adapt to that type of position.

"This is not the end of Wayne Rooney at Manchester United. It is just the final phase of his career at the club and he will get used to it."

Rooney remains one of the most marketable assets on the United books and that factor could play a role in him seeing out the final years of a lucrative contract that is set to run until the summer of 2019.

While he has been linked with big money moves to America's MLS or the Chinese Super League, this word from his camp suggests he is not ready to walk away from United any time soon.

Rooney needs just three goals to equal Bobby Chartlon's long-standing United goal scoring record at Old Trafford and he is expected to return to their starting line-up for next Thursday's Europa League game against Zorya Luhansk.