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In eight months Wayne Rooney has plummeted from “the best player in the world” to a substitute against West Bromwich Albion and his current position on the Old Trafford periphery will need to be sorted out very soon.
Manchester United’s fans — and their American owners — do not expect the England striker to be warming the bench, particularly when the player says he is fit, even if manager Alex Ferguson says otherwise.
British media suspect a falling-out with Ferguson but United issued a statement on Sunday describing as “nonsense” suggestions that the striker, bought from Everton for 25 million pounds in 2004, was about to be sold.
It may be harder to deny, however, that his relationship with Ferguson is not completely harmonious.
Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Karim Benzema and Juan Mata are among the strikers up for discussion in the latest edition of our Reuters Sports Champions League podcast. Kevin Fylan is joined by Ed Osmond, Owen Wyatt, Paul Radford and Mark Meadows.
Dimitar Berbatov chose the perfect moment to finally endear himself to the Old Trafford crowd on Sunday with a superb hat-trick that earned Manchester United a much-needed 3-2 victory over fierce rivals Liverpool.
The mercurial Bulgarian, whose Premier League career has been peppered with sporadic moments of brilliance at both United and former club Tottenham Hotspur, began the new season under pressure to find consistency and, most importantly, the back of the net.
Wayne Rooney has been taking, and largely ignoring, abuse from Everton supporters for six years but Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson decided on Saturday that a garnish of tabloid tittle-tattle on top the traditional “Judas” fare was too much.
“He gets terrible abuse here and I’m not going to subject him to that,” Ferguson said when explaining his decision to leave the England striker out of the remarkable 3-3 draw.
‘Plus ca change’ was the defining refrain of the Premier League’s opening weekend, but football fans tired of the established order will hope déjà vu is lurking round the corner for Manchester United and Chelsea.
Neither the champions nor the runners-up broke sweat as they strolled to opening victories that pointed ominously to another two-horse race for the Premier League title.
Perusing through the latest influx of major pre-season signings to join the English Premier League can quickly become a competition to find which transaction does not include the words Manchester and City.
As expected, it is the blue half of Manchester that have splashed the cash on behalf of Italian manager Roberto Mancini, as they bid to break into the top four and come away with a minimum of Champions League soccer this season.
It’s safe to say Paul Radford has been deservedly crowned our Predictions League champion 2009/10 but what about the Premier League?
Could there be a sting in the tail for leaders Chelsea in their last game at home to Wigan on Sunday?
AS Roma are absolutely livid after Inter Milan regained the lead in Serie A with a 2-0 win at Lazio, where the home fans cheered the goals as much as the away supporters.
Lazio fans hate Roma so much that many of them wanted their own side to lose on Sunday as it meant their bitter city rivals were knocked off top spot. This was despite the fact Lazio are not clear of relegation yet.