Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney belongs at Old Trafford


Don’t expect Wayne Rooney to be wearing anything other than a Manchester United shirt come August 17 when they begin the new season at Liberty Stadium.

With The Guardian reporting David Moyes is set to offer Wayne Rooney a new contract with the Red Devils, the incoming manager will hope he can convince the 27-year-old striker Old Trafford is where he belongs.

Despite rumors of unrest between Rooney and management at United, the player will have no desire to leave England or even leave Manchester given the recent birth of his second child.

It’s been a rocky last few years for the old Everton kid.  A look at his goal and assist numbers and it’s easy to see why.

Sir Alex Ferguson could never quite decide how he wanted to use the England international.  Depending on the players brought in and sent elsewhere, he would bang Rooney around between a poacher up top, a secondary striker, a creative attacker just behind the front line, and a winger out to the side.

In his first four years at Old Trafford, Rooney’s goals total hovered between 11 and 16, while his assists grew each year from 5 to 13.  Then his goals tally spiked to 26 in the 2009/2010 season while he fell to just 5 assists. Then 11 and 11 the next year.  Then 27 and 7.  And last season 12 and 10.

Rooney doesn’t appreciate it, and it’s been reported he has twice asked for a transfer, with the most recent occasion just a few months ago.

Sir Alex said no, and then Sir Alex retired.

David Moyes, the man in charge when it all began for Rooney at Goodison Park, has taken the legend’s place in charge, and it’s been said that convincing Rooney to stay will be his top priority.  The Guardian has said the new contract offered will be much more incentive-laden than the old £250,000-per-week ($386,000) deal he has two years left on.

Don’t expect the striker to leave.  The interest reported by Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, and others has been nothing more than quiet speculation, and it would be hard to imagine Rooney breaking mold and uprooting his young family for a fresh start.

Especially when he’ll most likely get a fresh start with Moyes.

But more than anything, wouldn’t it just feel wrong to see Rooney sporting any other kit?

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
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Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

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Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.