Saturday 20 January 2018

James Lawton: It will take more than sporadic brilliance to save Rooney's relationship with Ferguson

NO one ever said that Wayne Rooney was likely to leave Manchester United any time soon because he is no longer a magnificently gifted football player.

This self-evident fact yesterday burst, almost predictably, in the faces of Manchester City as Rooney scored two goals, one of them a magnificent header after superb approach play, before displaying a badge-kissing passion for the club which was not quite so evident until the last 48 hours. Not, certainly, when he was dropped from the team and fined £200,000 for being physically incapable of contributing properly to a training session.

It meant that you did not have to read Glaswegian shorthand to understand the point his manager Sir Alex Ferguson was making even in the first rush of euphoria over United's dismissal of FA Cup holders and Premier League pace-setters City. Before welcoming a "magnificent" contribution from Rooney, Ferguson revealed that he had in the last few days presented to his player the spectre of Paul Gascoigne.

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