Ferguson And Rooney – From Coach To Stranger

Unlike Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney has a ups and downs relationship with Ferguson. The contradictions behind the scenes have sometimes made the two cold to each other for a long time.

The Scottish strategist was one of the most powerful Rooney defenders at Old Trafford. Despite scandals or his temper, Rooney is always protected by Sir Alex Ferguson.

However, like a marriage over two decades, the relationship between the two legendary characters of English football is not always good.

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Ferguson used to favor Rooney.
Ferguson used to favor Rooney.

Rift relationship

Those were the early days of May 2013, when Sir Alex Ferguson entered his final moment at Manchester United. MU against Swansea will be one of the last matches of the Scottish coach’s career.

When the players came out to prepare for the match, it was found that Rooney and Ferguson just shook hands. Both do not even want to look at each other.

That day, Rooney was not included in the competition registration list. In the post-match interview, Ferguson went against the most basic principles of his coaching career.

He surprised everyone when he declared that his beloved student Rooney wanted to “betray” the Old Trafford team. Rooney had asked to leave but was rejected by Ferguson earlier.

Ferguson did not think Wayne (Rooney) was interested in playing. It’s simply because he asked to leave.

The Athletic revealed Rooney was discontented with losing the starting spot in the final weeks of Ferguson’s position at Old Trafford. He went to the head coach and asked if he didn’t deserve to continue playing for the “Red Devils”, whether he could leave or not. Ferguson snarled everything in the media, and the two have not looked at each other for a long time since that day.

In his autobiography, Ferguson explained why he didn’t trust Rooney in those days: “I felt in my last season at United when I let him sit out, he lost his motivation to play. and become more tired. “

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It was a sad ending for a relationship that made history for English and MU football. In December 2004, three months after Rooney made a move from Everton to Old Trafford, the 19-year-old striker was banned from playing three matches by the FA for attacking Ben Haim of Bolton.

Rooney had to rely on Ferguson to get the Champions League ball as a souvenir.
Rooney had to rely on Ferguson to get the Champions League ball as a souvenir.

In an interview after the FA penalty, when media questioned Rooney’s behavior, Ferguson scolded reporters and slammed his hand and threw the tape recorder on the couch on a wall a few meters away.

The strong action mentioned above by Ferguson is just one of many times this manager has publicly defended Rooney in the past. Ferguson saw many similarities between himself and the English striker. Both are sometimes rude, but the desire to win is burning and of course, extremely love football.

Rene Meulensteen, who has worked for Ferguson for many years as United manager, said: “Ferguson once considered Rooney as a proud son of the MU family”.

One evening, when MU met Fenerbahce, Rooney scored a hat-trick on the day of the Champions League debut. He went to the Belgian referee Frank De Bleecker and asked the ball to make a souvenir. Rooney’s offer was rejected and he became angry. After a while, Ferguson went to the referees’ locker room and returned the ball in his hand.

Stressful meetings

So much between Ferguson and Rooney has happened since that night at Old Trafford in 2004. In October 2010, Rooney went to Ferguson’s office and questioned the team’s ambition. More than a year ago, MU agreed to sell Ronaldo to Real. A month after Ronaldo made his debut at the Bernabeu, Rooney watched another old teammate leave. Carlos Tevez has signed for Manchester City.

“I really felt bad when Ronaldo and Tevez left,” Rooney told Sky Sports in 2019. He didn’t want to continue to be part of Alex Ferguson’s project if things went on like that.

Rooney also questioned why Ferguson did not compete with Real to recruit Mesut Ozil that summer. Ferguson said it was none of Rooney’s business. “The Sherk” seems to have pushed everything too far.

Rooney’s meeting with Ferguson in the winter of 2010 was not merely a matter of worrying about MU’s future. The English striker wanted to explore the possibility of joining Manchester City, the rich man of football at that time.

The MU fans were then shocked. And Ferguson, the Scottish coach has his own strategy. “Will Ferguson let Rooney go? Stam? Ronaldo is gone. In the end, never challenge him,” Meulensteen recalls.

After the videos of MU fans burning Rooney shirt spread on the Internet, “bald guy” and his agent broadcast the message that the player never wanted to go to Man City for money. The main problem with Rooney is the ambition of the team. About a few weeks later, Rooney signed a new 5-year contract with MU.

However, the water bowl couldn’t be regained, the relationship between Rooney and Ferguson could never be the same again.

The fact that Ferguson favored Van Persie in the last season at MU is one of the many reasons why Rooney is not satisfied.
The fact that Ferguson favored Van Persie in the last season at MU is one of the many reasons why Rooney is not satisfied

When Rooney was discovered smoking or drinking alcohol, Ferguson bluntly warned the player to be careful. On New Year’s Day 2011, Rooney was banished to the sidelines after showing a superficial training attitude earlier. Two years later, during Ferguson’s last season at Old Trafford, the Scottish coach was disappointed with Rooney’s attitude and conduct.

Rooney was not happy when Robin van Persie was favored by Ferguson in the attack. “Everyone can see how Ferguson favored Van Persie. He became the new leader in attack. And Rooney, the relationship between him and the coach quickly deteriorated, after Rooney did not start from the beginning in a few key matches” a former MU player speaking on the condition of anonymity on The Athletic said.

Rooney even lost his place in the Champions League quarter-final against Real, at Danny Welbeck. For a star like Rooney, it is a shame.

More than a week after the match against Swansea, Rooney continued to be absent when United as a guest at West Brom Stadium. It was the last match of Ferguson’s career. Rooney decided to call Paul Stretford, his agent asking to find another club.


However, MU Vice President Ed Woodward then disagreed with the sale of Rooney. It was the first summer Woodward took over MU’s power chair from David Gill, and he didn’t want to risk it. Rooney continued to play for MU for four more years from the day Ferguson retired.

In the spring of 2016, Rooney actively shook hands with Ferguson on the honorary bench at Old Trafford. Rooney was sidelined with a knee injury when he saw Ferguson and Bobby Charlton in front of him, the England striker smiled and greeted his former coach. “The war between the two ended,” Independent then headlined.

Ferguson wrote lines praising Rooney the day he broke up with Manchester United. In his autobiography, he restrained himself to comment on his former student.

As for Rooney, he always insists Ferguson is the most influential person in his career. “When I was young, I always argued with him (Ferguson),” Rooney said on his return to MU in early March 2020. “But I have learned invaluable lessons. As you get older, you realize the value of what Ferguson does for you.”

Perhaps the relationship between Rooney and Ferguson will never be the same again. However, both still respect each other. After all, their relationship has become an unforgettable history of English and MU football.
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