Anorak News | United They Stand

United They Stand

by | 29th, September 2004

‘LAST night Manchester United went to Old Trafford to love Wayne Rooney. The game over and players and fans alike left with his name etched on their hearts.

What (always) happens next?

The Times says that memories of Rooney’s debut performance – in which he scored a superb Champions’ League hat-trick in the 6-2 thrashing of Fenerbhce – will live long in the minds of United’s fans.

And the papers are happy to keep Rooney’s name high on the agenda, all leading with the boy wonder, who, as the Indy says, has begun his “love affair” with Old Trafford.

The Mail goes further – perhaps a little too far at this early stage in his career – and says Wayne joins the “list of legends”, speaking of Rooney’s burst in the same breath as “Best against Benfica, Charlton at Wembley”.

No pressure, then, Wayne. Just go out and do the same thing every week.

Arsenal’s manager, Arsene Wenger, is mindful of piling massive expectation on one player, especially one so young.

In the Indy, he compares Rooney to Arsenal’s own tyro, the Spaniard Jose Reyes.

“He is in a Rooney situation as well,” says Wenger. “Everyone expects Rooney to play and make a difference. That is what everyone expects from Rooney – that he will score in every game. That is what everybody expects from Reyes but football is not like that.”

Try telling the Mail. And given the form of both the Spaniard and the Englishman to date, Wenger’s words seem disputed by fart.

But football does not always go to plan and only a fool would expect otherwise.

So, tonight, Arsenal fans shouldn’t expect their new star player to score, even if he is playing up front against Rosenborg in place of the non-flying Dennis Bergkamp.

Hmmm… We wonder what Claudio Ranieri would have done if he had had such talent at his disposal? Shuffled his pack. Changed the team. Tinkered.

If he were in charge at Manchester United, Ranieri would probably now drop Rooney to the reserves.

But we can only guess about such things because the Italian’s new book – Proud Man Walking – makes no mention of La Roon.

Instead, in the Times’ book review, we hear the Italian reminisce about the time he asked Roman Abramovich for a lift in his jet to Rome.

The Russian was flying to Moscow, but still took time to indulge his then manager and take in an unscheduled trip to the Italian capital.

“What a man,” says Ranieri, who goes onto talk of the good relationship he enjoyed with his chairman.

You know, the one who sacked him…’

Posted: 29th, September 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink