Wayne Rooney has revealed that he had been mentally preparing to leave Manchester United for almost a whole year.
The former captain completed a move back to Everton this week, almost thirteen years after swapping Goodison Park for Old Trafford, and in his first press conference back he explained that coming back to his boyhood club was a natural move for him as his Man United career had been winding down in the past twelve months.
Indeed, it was last November when he made a decision that his future would be away from the club, a feeling he conveyed to manager Jose Mourinho two months later:
“It was around November I knew [I’d be leaving].
“I spoke to Jose in January to see what his opinions were and he always said he wanted me to stay and help the team until the end of the season. I did that. I helped in the games he put me in but I knew I had to leave to move forward for my career. It was a sad moment because I had been at the club for 13 years but I had to think of my career as well.”
via the Telegraph
The 3-1 defeat to Watford in September, Man United’s last before a long unbeaten run in the league, seemed to be a turning point in Rooney’s career at the club, as it was at this point that he ceased being a regular start for the team:
“I started the season doing OK, I did well.
“I had a bad game at Watford away and that was it…he changed the system a little and the lads who came in did well. He stuck with that. That’s his decision and I respect him as a person, as a manager. “
Roney revealed that lifting two trophies last year – which should be the happiest part of any footballer’s season – was incredibly frustrating for him personally. The 31-year-old was an unused substitute in the EFL Cup final against Southampton, while he was only introduced in stoppage time in the Europa League final in May.
“It was just a frustrating time.
“The hardest thing was lifting the two trophies – the League Cup and the Europa League. You don’t feel like you [deserve it] because you haven’t been part of the game. That was hard to do; you’re naturally happy because you have won but you don’t celebrate it as much.”
Rooney has already been training with his new teammates as he prepares himself for a very different challenge under Ronald Koeman back on Merseyside.