ROONEY TO DECIDE ON FUTURE
United striker contemplates next move
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 thefa.com.
“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.”