After winning United’s first five games, Sunday’s narrow win over Tottenham was Solskjaer’s first real challenge as caretaker manager, one that was passed with flying colours.
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Wayne Rooney’s Manchester United career is nearing the end, with the club captain expected to depart at the end of the season.
The rumour mill was in full swing in recent weeks over Rooney moving to the Chinese Super League on a deal that could have made him the highest paid player in the world.
The 31-year-old is still contracted beyond next season and has in the last week reiterated his desire to remain at Old Trafford.
While Rooney secured his name in folklore by becoming United’s all-time leading scorer this year, he has struggled for regular first-team football.
The veteran has fallen down the pecking order behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Anthony Martial, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford. Rooney was also an unused substitute in United’s EFL Cup final victory over Southampton at Wembley on Sunday.
Jose Mourinho has made it clear he is happy for the club legend to remain but it seems unlikely Rooney will be used as anything more than a squad player. While a move to China has its financial benefits, the England international still has something to offer at the top level and he will certainly not be short of suitors.
A move back to his boyhood club, Everton, certainly offers a level of romanticism and could be a deal that suits both parties. While the relationship between Rooney and the Toffees has been turbulent since he departed Goodison, it has certainly improved in recent years, with Rooney even making an appearance for the club during Duncan Ferguson’s 2015 testimonial match.
Perhaps surprisingly, the possibility of a Rooney homecoming has not being met with overwhelming excitement from Evertonians. Age and potential wages are viewed as a concern, as is the fact Ronald Koeman is building a very good squad – maybe Rooney is not seen as required.
But if the price is right, it should be explored.
Whatever decision Rooney makes, he will leave Manchester United with a CV glittering with individual awards and team success. What is left for Wayne Rooney to achieve at club level? Maybe winning a trophy with the club he loves would be a good way to bow out.