Tuesday, January 10

When Marcus Rashford Beats Wayne Rooney's Record

Rooney. Firstly, an exceptional footballer. 249 goals in his United career is a phenomenal achievement. The hat-trick on his debut, the City goal, the dive for the penalty that beat Arsenal's unbeatables. He hasn't looked after himself well enough to equal Sir Bobby's record in sooner than 543 games, although at age 31 it's still incredible, but there is no doubt - he is one of United's greatest ever players. But... I was more happy that Marcus Rashford scored a brace on Saturday than I was Rooney meeting the record. It's not that he questioned our ambition in 2010 - after we replaced Ronaldo with Valencia and Obertan, he was probably right to, at least privately - but that he handed in a transfer request, actually prepared to join City. SAF was forcing him out in 2013, probably because he saw the decline of a player who wasn't taking care of himself and was so far removed from the world great he could have become. This time, his transfer request wasn't official but he was ready to leave again, for the oil money again, at Chelsea. More than anything, though, this, for me, is what it comes down to: at age 79, will Wayne Rooney be sitting in the directors' box at Old Trafford watching someone else break his goal record? Hell no. Because he doesn't really love United and he never really has - especially since that original transfer request. There is no bond with us fans, as United has only ever been a trophy-filling job to him. This is a quote from Ander Herrera: "I feel very appreciated by the United fans and want to give the love back to the fans that they give to me by giving everything. I know what Manchester United means, I know what it means to the fans and I try to make them proud." When has Wayne Rooney EVER said anything like that? He may be captain, but there is a disconnect between many genuine United fans and Rooney. Those in Calcutta only see the stats. He's an Everton fan - and I have no problem with that - but he's got no actual affection for the club he plays for and, to me, you need that if you want to be considered a legend. The way we love Eric, Giggs, Scholes, Solskjaer, Charlton himself. When Wayne Rooney becomes United's all-time leading goalscorer, I'll be impressed, but a little sad. When Marcus Rashford beats that record, 12 years from now, I'll be so fucking proud and happy.