Rooney's stunning decision to stay at Man Utd gets mixed reaction
The biggest volt-face in recent football history received a mixed response on Friday with opinion split as to who came out of the Wayne Rooney saga with the most credit, or perhaps the least damage.
The 24-year-old signed a new five-year contract with Manchester United on Friday, just two days after saying he would have to leave because the club did not match his ambitions, dpa reported.
The decision was greeted with disbelief in some quarters but with an air of resignation in others due to the belief that the striker had simply played the system to get a more lucrative deal.
Former Manchester United star Lou Macari was the most vocal, saying it was "cheeky" and a "slight on his colleagues.
"Had he been playing in the 70s or 80s the players would have asked him just what he was playing at," Macari said. "They think they are good enough to win trophies. Does he not think that?
"It's disrespectful to ask the chief executive (David Gill) what is going on. I am not saying he has not got the right, but it's quite cheeky. He should not be doing it. I would think the lads in that dressing room are raging at this moment in time."
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had struck first by bringing Rooney's reluctance to sign a new contract into the public in a very open statement on Wednesday, in which he said he did not understand Rooney's thought processes.
That forced Rooney's hand and the England striker announced that United's lack of ambition was what was stopping him signing a new deal.
In the end, Rooney seemingly got what he wanted - a new improved deal - and Ferguson got Rooney to stay, at the same time twisting the arm of the Glazer family, who own the club, to demonstrate they wanted the best for the club.
Former United defender Clayton Blackmore said he felt the fact that Rooney apologised to the club for his actions would go a long way to persuading any disgruntled fans that he would be giving his all for United.
"I think he knew he had to apologise and I think everything will be swept under the carpet now and carry on where we left off about a month ago, before it all started," Blackmore said.
"It think it just shows how strong and how powerful the manager is. Things like this, when it looks like we've lost him and things have gone too far, now they've gone back together, it could work even better for us. Wayne could end up being an even better player."
When the news that Rooney might be for sale was breaking on Wednesday, the likeliest destination appeared to be Manchester City, despite the obvious rivalry between the two neighbouring clubs.
But City manager Roberto Mancini said he had not had any contact with Rooney or his agent and Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti joined him in stating his belief that he would stay.
"I'm not surprised," Ancelotti said on Friday. "Manchester United are happy to keep a fantastic player. I think that Rooney did a fantastic job for Manchester United and, in the future, I think he will do the same."
The only thing that is certain, or at least if you believe the club, is that Rooney will have to wait to let his football do the talking, because Ferguson said on Friday that he would be out for three weeks because of an ankle injury.