Monday 20 November 2017

Rory united with Rooney over striker's Red future

Rory McIlroy - hopes Rooney stays at Old Trafford
Rory McIlroy - hopes Rooney stays at Old Trafford

Karl MacGinty

RORY McILROY has lunged into the debate on Wayne Rooney's future at Old Trafford with the ferocity of a latter-day Roy Keane.

McIlroy had to be teased into expressing an opinion on Muirfield's controversial men-only membership policy, one of the hottest topics at this week's Open, but the Manchester United fanatic went in with all studs showing when it came to a topic much closer to his heart ... the treatment meted out to Nike stablemate Rooney by new Red Devils boss David Moyes.

Responding to reports that the England striker is angry and confused, McIlroy rapped: "If I was Wayne, I'd be very confused too.

"He's had nine great seasons at Man United and I don't think he needs to prove himself to anyone.

"I don't think he needs to prove himself to the new manager. I don't think he should be playing second fiddle to Van Persie. Wayne has been a great player and a very loyal player for Man United and if I was him, I'd probably be in the same position.

"So I hope it gets sorted pretty quickly and he obviously stays at Old Trafford."

Advice

Asked if he'd any words of advice, McIlroy, who at age 24 is three years younger than Rooney, went on: "He knows what he wants to do more than I.

"I guess he just wants to play football. He just wants to get on the pitch and show what he can do. If he doesn't feel he can do that at United, he'll obviously want to go elsewhere and I think that's very understandable."

Of course, Rooney is not in the same privileged position as McIlroy. Management is all-powerful in football, while in golf, the player, especially when he's world No 2 and a double Major winner, is the boss.

For example, McIlroy recently decided he wanted to part from his management team after just 18 months of a five-year contract and set up a new back-room staff featuring family members, close friends and confidants.

Like fellow golfer Graeme McDowell, McIlroy is a lifelong United fan; holds a season ticket at Old Trafford and counts the Champions League defeat at Wembley among the many prestige games he has attended.

A client of Manchester sports management company ISM, he even teamed up with United legend Bobby Charlton at the Dunhill Links. He first struck up a relationship with Rio Ferdinand on Twitter. Invited by the England centre-half to the Players Lounge at Old Trafford, McIlroy befriended several members of the squad.

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