Rooney Opens Up On Wanting To Leave Manchester United In 2010
Wayne Rooney has opened up about his bizarre attempts to leave Manchester United in 2010, insisting that Sir Alex Ferguson ‘went out as quickly as he could’ when he realized the club was in trouble.
Rooney’s extraordinary career is chronicled in a new Amazon documentary that will be published on Friday, with the iconic striker providing never-before-seen insight into his professional and personal life.
The now-36-year-old recounts the challenges of growing up in the spotlight with his wife Coleen, as well as England’s major tournament failures, his issues with drink, and the adultery that nearly wrecked his marriage.
When Wayne Rooney decided to leave Manchester United in 2010, he addressed Sir Alex Ferguson.
He has rarely spoken about his effort to leave United following the 2010 World Cup, when Manchester City were interested and he was unhappy with the direction the club was taking.
Rooney not only confronted renowned manager Ferguson at the time, but he remains adamant 12 years after that he understood the club was on the decline – and that when the boss realized the same, he jumped ship.
‘They were offering me a deal for £200,000 per week, so it would have been simple for me to say, “five years, £200,000 per week… let me sign it now,”‘ Rooney adds. ‘It would have been quite simple for me to do so. But it was more important to me to achieve success on the pitch.
‘Actually, five years after that meeting, Alex Ferguson recognized where the club was headed and walked out as quickly as he could, and they’re still cleaning up the pieces now.’
Ferguson left United in 2013, four years before Rooney returned to his boyhood club Everton, and the Red Devils have failed to match Ferguson’s lofty heights ever since.
‘We sold [Carlos] Tevez, then we sold [Cristiano] Ronaldo, and I was the only high-profile player left,’ Rooney said of his pivotal encounter with Ferguson in 2010.
‘I went into Alex Ferguson’s office and said to him, ‘I walked into Alex Ferguson’s office and I said to him, ‘I went into Alex Ferguson’s office “What exactly is the plan here? We’ve brought in two unproven young English players at the moment.” “Get out of my office,” Alex Ferguson said, as I recall.
Many of Rooney’s former Manchester United and England teammates appear in the documentary named ‘Rooney,’ with Gary Neville expressing his displeasure with the manner Rooney went about trying to manufacture his exit.
‘The one significant disappointment I had with Wayne was that when he announced it publicly, his teammates were in the middle of a game as we walked into the locker room.’ Please don’t do this to us. Put your s*** in a different place.
‘It’s on Sky Sports News,’ says the announcer. It hit us like a ton of bricks when we realized this wasn’t him. He isn’t here. He was a team guy who would never harm his teammates. That was the only time I thought he’d disappointed himself.’
Nonetheless, Neville acknowledges that Rooney’s boldness in confronting the legendary Ferguson should be applauded.
‘As I sit here today, I think to myself, “it took tremendous guts and courage to do what he did,”‘ he continues. ‘ None of us would have done it; I would never have gone into the manager’s office and said, “Who are you signing, by the way? If you don’t sign some good players, I’ll leave! ” (laughs). We’d have been thrown out the door before we could finish our sentence. That is something we would not have done.
‘However, players like [Bryan] Robson and [Eric] Cantona, Roy Keane and Wayne Rooney… these were the personalities and characters who could do it because they were that good of players and had that edge. That is what distinguishes them.’
The new Amazon documentary also sheds light on Rooney’s personal life in a way that has never been seen before, with the Derby manager admitting to an alcohol addiction that controlled his life away from United.
He also discusses his infidelity with wife Coleen, with the two sitting together to examine the stories that reached the front pages of all of the UK’s tabloid newspapers.
Rooney’s spectacular ascent to popularity was difficult for the young couple to deal with at times, with Coleen stating she cried frequently as she struggled to cope with the massive changes in her life.
Rooney, on the other hand, had no illusions about his ability on the field, admitting that even at the age of 18, he believed there was no greater player in the world.
All eyes were on the youthful Everton striker at Euro 2004, his first major event with England.
‘I remember thinking to myself at that event, when I was 18, that “I’m the best player in the world, there’s no one better than me,”‘ he remarked. ‘I had my doubts. It wouldn’t have mattered if it had been Pele, Maradona, or George Best on the opposite side.’
‘He was doing something that was really, really special for an English player,’ Neville said of his international team-mate. ‘This was incredible; it was on another level; it was out of this world.’ [Against France], he was ripping them to shreds. They couldn’t handle him, even though he was just 18 years old.’
But it wasn’t Euro 2004 that first exposed Neville to Rooney’s abilities… it was two years earlier that he got a taste of what the striker was capable of.
He reveals, ‘I played against him as a 16-year-old in a reserve squad game.’ ‘I couldn’t believe it when he evicted me and David May.’
‘I had a feeling he was a filthy little b******.’ From the moment he arrived at Everton, he played like a street child. Every ball was fought for, every header was leaped for, every tackle was thrown into, and he defended and attacked for his life. That’s what made him so unique.’