MANCHESTER: David Moyes will open his tenure as manager of Manchester United revisiting an issue from his Everton days: the wanderlust of Wayne Rooney writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Rooney effectively forced his way out of Moyes’s Everton as a precocious teenager in 2004 when he joined United. He then made his first attempt to break out of United in October 2010. After a tense week he relented and signed a new contract.
However he has had to accept a secondary tactical role this past season after the arrival of Robin Van Persie. Speculation abut his future was already rife after his frequent omissions from United’s starting line-up by Ferguson.
Moyes was Rooney’s first manager when the striker broke into the Everton side in 2002. After Rooney moved to United two years later, he and Moyes fell out, with the Scot suing the player regarding allegations he made in an autobiography.
Now, after Rooney made a personal apology three years ago, their relationship is thought to have settled down.
Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Bayern Munich may be among potential suitors but Rooney has two years remaining on his contract. Logic thus suggests Moyes will seek to persuade Rooney to stay for the new manager’s first, transitional season and then both club and player can revisit the issue in the summer of next year.
Moyes was considered a ‘safe pair of hands’ as successor to his fellow Scot, safer for the long term certainly than Jose Mourinho. Both men have never made a secret of their admiration for United. For years Moyes has had a virtual permanent seat in the United directors’ box, as long as Everton were not playing.
Everton under Moyes, despite having only the 10th-highest wage bill in the Premier League, have finished eighth or higher every year since 2007.
However the one weakness in the Moyes cv is that all his years ensuring Everton’s established place in the Premier League the former Preston manager has won precisely nothing and has no experience in the Champions League.
He was turned down in favour of Steve McClaren when Ferguson was appointing an assistant in 1999 but his readiness to construct teams and focus on youth development appears a crucial factor in United’s pursuit of the 50-year-old.
Moyes was linked with a move to Chelsea earlier this season but a return of the Special One Jose Mourinho has always appeared to be the favoured option of owner Roman Abramovich.
Moyes has a similar pedigree to Ferguson, apart from the Glasgow connection. Both men were ‘graduates’ of Glasgow’s Drumchapel Amateurs FC, where his mother washed the team kit and his father was on the board.
Moyes is due to lead Everton for the visit of West Ham on Sunday, the same day that Ferguson oversees his last home game for United, against Swansea City, with huge tributes to the 71-year-old expected.
Everton’s fans are expected to offer Moyes a generous send-off before he ends 11 years in charge at Chelsea on the season’s final day on May 19. Early favourite as successor is Wigan’s Roberto Martinez.
As for Moyes, last year he told journalists, at a 10th anniversary dinner: “I’m quite embarrassed not having a couple of trophies to show people but I hope people have seen a good level of progression and improvement [at Everton].
“It is very hard to be a manager of Arsenal or Manchester United for 10 years but they have chances of trophies which keep that going. To be at a club like Everton for 10 years is quite a tough thing to do.
“I don’t feel under-rated. I just feel that, in life, if you do your job well people will say: ‘Come on’. You get what you deserve.”