Both Wayne Rooney’s exit from Old Trafford and retirement from England were horrifically underwhelming. They were quite literally yesterday’s news when announced, as both club and international football swiftly moved on from their all-time top scorer.
A footballer that has been thrown under the metaphoric bus, and one who has battled with the media his entire career looks destined to be one of those players we appreciate when he retires from the game.
With the Englishman’s return to Old Trafford this coming Sunday, there should be no doubt that the former Red Devils skipper receives nothing but support for the entire 90 minutes; nothing but Rooney songs doing the rounds amongst both sets of supporters.
— MUFC Songs & Chants™ (@MufcSongs) December 19, 2015
If you compare the likes of Robin van Persie’s exit from Old Trafford, or even Michael Carrick’s testimonial match over the summer, it seemed both United players gauged a greater level of emotion from the supporters compared to Rooney’s exit; the return of RvP to Old Trafford was like a homecoming for a player who had devoted his whole career to the club.
Although we’re sure Rooney will still receive high applauds and a warm reception when back on the Old Trafford pitch, it is a shame that his former manager, Jose Mourinho, feels the need to promote such a reaction; it’s the least the all-time scorer deserves, and should be an absolute given:
“I think that he will get the welcome he deserves, I think sometimes the word ‘legend’ in this country comes too easy, but that’s not his case.
‘He’s a real legend: the number of goals, trophies. He’s clearly one of the most important players in Manchester United’s history and I think the stadium will show him that respect he deserves. I hope before the match and after the match, not during the match.’
‘He’s a legend of this club, he deserves to be welcomed that way, but during the match he’s an Everton player that wants to win the match.”
— Jose Mourinho
United’s former No.10 deserves a reception like no other United player; the former skipper won it all in Manchester, and kept United at the top of European football when at the peak of his powers. He was the club’s greatest asset, and will forever be one of the side’s most influential players.
Let’s not let RvP’s Old Trafford homecoming trump the white Pele’s.