Wayne Rooney has spoken publicly for the first time since the beginning of the summer and claimed that he needs more first team action to regain his match sharpness.
The 27-year-old came on for half an hour against Swansea and put in a good shift but was far from his energetic best. At times, his approach was slightly lethargic but it is something that Rooney puts down to the injuries he sustained during the pre-season.
“You obviously need that sharpness,” he said.
“I haven’t had that many training sessions with the first team [at United] because they have been away. I might be lacking that bit of sharpness but hopefully that will come. I need to try and get a few more games in.
“You always look forward to having a good pre-season. It’s important you do that. Unfortunately I got the injury to my hamstring and then to my shoulder. It’s been disappointing but you’ve got to deal with it.
Any player who hasn’t had a full pre-season is going to struggle with match sharpness, let alone Rooney. He is a player who really needs to have had a serious amount of successful fitness work given his naturally stocky build. When he isn’t match fit, it is blatantly obvious for everyone to see.
Despite not having full match fitness, Rooney still laid on two assists in United’s 4-1 win in a very professional performance. It wasn’t his typically passionate style of play but given the current situation with him, nobody expected it to be.
And looking forward, gaining more minutes is something Rooney wants to get as soon as possible.
He continued: “I have been working hard on the training ground trying to get myself fit and I was just thankful to get the minutes in against Scotland. That’s thanks to the manager [Hodgson].”
“I had a few painkillers for the shoulder injury. It was great to have the minutes and now I’m looking forward to hopefully getting a few games.”
“Hopefully in the next few weeks I will be playing, get those games in,” he said. “If I do then obviously that will make be better for the World Cup qualifiers coming up as well.”
In reality, no United fan wants Rooney to leave. He is a world class striker, an irreplaceable commodity given that there are less than three weeks left, and United would be a weaker side without him.
But if Rooney doesn’t want to be at the club, it may be in our benefit to cash in on him rather than let him play out a final season where his heart isn’t in it.