Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville feels out-of-favour striker Wayne Rooney might reconsider his potential decision of leaving the city-based football club going by the ongoing English Premier League (EPL) season.
Rooney is United’s all-time record goalscorer but the 31-year-old’s future is far from certain amid his reduced role under United head coach Jose Mourinho and interest from the Chinese Super League (CSL).
“Him being there next season is doubtful just because of the noise,” Neville was quoted as saying by Omnisport on Saturday. “I hope he’s there next season. I think Wayne still has a lot to offer, but he wants to play more often.”
So far, Rooney has featured 18 times for the Red Devils, his appearances coming from the bench with as Mourinho favouring Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata and Anthony Martial in the attacking roles.
“He’s not playing as much football as he’d like. Knowing him, he’s the type of footballer that would like to play every minute of every day,” he said.
“There’s definitely some doubt, but there’s still two to three months left in the season. United have plenty to play for, including qualifying for the Champions League.
“My view would be, maybe his mind can be changed by what happens in those months. With Ibrahimovic missing it is an opportunity for Marcus Rashford, but also for Rooney potentially.”
Neville, who won eight English Premier League (EPL) titles with Rooney at United under Alex Ferguson, said people will remember his contribution once he retires.
“Look at life nowadays and social media, we’re so quick to judge everybody. He is going through a period of his career where obviously the performances and appearances aren’t the same as they were. People tend to forget what happened previously,” he reflected.
“All he needs to do is retire and all of a sudden everybody would remember the greatness of him. We are seeing it with (Arsene) Wenger, Rooney, Steven Gerrard, you see this approach towards them and then they retire and people respect and enjoy what they’ve seen for the last 15 years.
“He will get the credit he deserves eventually because he’s had a magnificent career. He deserves a tremendous amount of credit for what he’s achieved in terms of club and country appearances, goals, commitment and leadership. He is just going through a natural period that most players do.”