Wham Bam no thanks Sam

Wayne Rooney training at St George's Park with England. The 30-year-old, a substitute in Manchester United's last three games, believes he is best suited to play in midfield at this stage of his career.
Wayne Rooney training at St George's Park with England. The 30-year-old, a substitute in Manchester United's last three games, believes he is best suited to play in midfield at this stage of his career.PHOTO: REUTERS

Rooney slams Allardyce for creating wrong impression that he picks where he plays

LONDON • Wayne Rooney has accused Sam Allardyce of allowing him to be "battered" and being responsible for what he considers some of the more unjust criticism he can remember during his 13 years with England.

Rooney, who revealed his dissatisfaction about not getting the midfield role he craves at Manchester United, believes he is still suffering from Allardyce's remarks about him being given carte blanche to play "wherever he wants" for the national team.

The perception it left was that England's captain and record scorer was being afforded the kind of special privileges that had never been given to anyone else.

Allardyce, it emerged, had accepted it was the wrong thing to say, apologising to Rooney on the flight home from the 1-0 win in Slovakia last month. But the player believes he was "slaughtered" as a consequence and his irritation was still evident as he looked ahead to interim manager Gareth Southgate's first match against Malta on Saturday.

Rooney talked of the previous manager with a notable lack of fondness. Unlike many of the players, he has not spoken to Allardyce since the manager's unceremonious departure, or even exchanged text messages.

"Sam came out and said I play where I want. I played exactly to instructions, and what was asked of me," said Rooney on Tuesday. "I haven't ever picked myself. That was a big misunderstanding and I seemed to get slaughtered for it. I suffered from that. I got battered in many different ways when I felt it was actually a decent performance.

"It was over the top. I played in deep midfield and I thought, being honest, I actually did quite well, especially in the second half. I helped control the game."

In a far-reaching interview, Rooney addressed questions about his deterioration in form, his removal from the United team under Jose Mourinho and the widespread suspicion that, approaching his 31st birthday, he may be suffering from burnout.

He accepted that he deserved to lose his place at Old Trafford and admitted he had lost the pace that once helped make him such a feared striker. He made it clearer that he believed he should be playing in midfield now.

"I have heard a lot of people talking about transition - well, let me do it," he said.

"I feel I am not being given a chance if that is the way I want to go in my career to expand it."

His problem is that Mourinho has stated that he sees the Englishman only as a front player. Rooney insisted he would accept the manager's thinking but also said "there will come a time, if I'm not playing, I might have to be a bit more selfish in terms of where I want to play and making that clear".

THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2016, with the headline 'Wham Bam no thanks Sam'. Print Edition | Subscribe