United striker con­tem­plates next move

New Straits Times - - Sport -

ENG­LAND and Manch­ester United’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney says he is just weeks away from re­veal­ing where he will be play­ing next sea­son.

The 31-year-old’s fu­ture at the club, where he has spent the past 13 years, and his coun­try, is the sub­ject of in­tense de­bate which in­ten­si­fied on Thurs­day when he was left out of the na­tional squad.

“I’ve got de­ci­sions to make now over the next few weeks, have a word with my fam­ily, and then I’ll de­cide,” Rooney said af­ter United en­sured Cham­pi­ons League foot­ball next sea­son with a 2-0 win over Dutch side Ajax in the Europa League fi­nal on Wed­nes­day.

“I think I just have to make a de­ci­sion in terms of a foot­ball de­ci­sion, and that’s what I’ll do.

“I’ll do that the next few weeks with my fam­ily while I’m away and, hon­estly, as soon as I know what’s go­ing on then, I’m sure you (will know).”

Rooney, who says he has no end of of­fers both in Eng­land and abroad with China of­ten be­ing mooted as a pos­si­ble des­ti­na­tion, says ul­ti­mately the de­ci­sion could come down to whether he is sat­is­fied with a bit part role at United or hav­ing reg­u­lar first team foot­ball.

“I think a younger me would have been a lot more frus­trated,” said Rooney of his lim­ited play­ing time un­der Jose Mour­inho at United.

“I think I un­der­stand what’s right and what’s needed for the club, and I re­spect that.

“Ob­vi­ously happy to be part of that and in some way help the club win tro­phies, and that’s the way it’s been over the last 18 months, last year, and that’s a de­ci­sion I have to make now, whether I want to con­tinue do­ing that or go on and play more reg­u­lar foot­ball.”

Ear­lier on Thurs­day, Rooney’s in­ter­na­tional ca­reer looked over af­ter he was left out of the squad for next month’s World Cup qual­i­fier against Scot­land and a friendly in France.

Rooney was also omit­ted from Gareth South­gate’s Eng­land squad an­nounced in March, al­though he was car­ry­ing a knee in­jury at the time.

He had hoped to end his in­ter­na­tional ca­reer by cap­tain­ing Eng­land at next year’s World Cup in Russia.

But this now looks an in­creas­ingly for­lorn hope for Rooney, Eng­land’s record goalscorer with 53 goals and their most capped out­fielder with 119 ap­pear­ances for his coun­try.

“We have a lot of play­ers play­ing ex­cep­tion­ally well in the area of the pitch that Wayne plays,” South­gate told

“I said last time (in March) that he was a bit short of matches — he’s had some matches now but we’ve got play­ers that have done re­ally, re­ally well for us in Adam Lal­lana and Dele Alli.

“I can’t dress it up any other way — other play­ers are in re­ally good form and de­serve to keep their place.”

South­gate did not rule out en­tirely a re­call for Rooney, who is three years younger than vet­eran striker Jer­main De­foe, who has been re­tained de­spite Sun­der­land’s des­per­ate sea­son see­ing them rel­e­gated.

“You never write off a player of Wayne’s qual­ity and I’m sure that, next sea­son, he’ll be back to play­ing,” said South­gate.

“He’s fin­ished the sea­son a bit bet­ter and I’m sure he’ll take that into next year.”

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