SportSoccer

Wayne Rooney hints at sliding standards at Manchester United

Rooney's comments have sparked a debate among United fans
Rooney's comments have sparked a debate among United fans

Wayne Rooney appears to have suggested standards have slipped at Manchester United since Alex Ferguson retired as the club’s manager in the summer of 2013.

Rooney ended his 13-year association with the Old Trafford club when he re-joined his first old club Everton earlier this month, with United’s all-time record scorer offering up some views that have sparked plenty of discussion among United fans.

“There are standards that you have to keep when you are at Manchester United,” Rooney said.

“That came from the ­manager Sir Alex Ferguson when I went to United and it was then passed down through the dressing room by the likes of Giggsy, Gary Neville and Scholesy.

“Over the last few years, it was down to me and Michael Carrick to keep the new players maintaining those ­standards.

“That became more difficult over the last few years, with some of the ­players who joined the club. There are ­traditions at United that have to be maintained. It’s become harder, but that’s not my problem any more. I’m just ecstatic to be back at Everton.”

Rooney’s comments have been viewed by some as a criticism of the players signed by United in recent years, yet he appears to be questioning the mentality of some players as much as their quality.

That much was confirmed as he offered up these views on striker Romelu Lukaku, he made a £75m move from Everton to United this month.

“Playing for Manchester United is a test of character,” Rooney told reporters. “You’ve got to be strong enough mentally to accept the challenge. United are a football club that demands success. Romelu has to be strong enough to take up that challenge.

“If he does that then, with the ability he has got, then he will be a success. If he worries about things then it will be more difficult.

“Hopefully, Romelu has got people there who will give him the right guidance and get the best out of him.”