Former Manchester United manager David Moyes has revealed that he had to undergo a long and drawn-out fight in his short tenure at Old Trafford in order to keep captain Wayne Rooney away from Chelsea.
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The England striker was linked with a move away from the club following Moyes’ appointment with the Red Devils in 2013, with rumours rife that the pair’s relationship was still fractious following Rooney’s acrimonious departure from Everton under the Scot.
Now at Real Sociedad, quoted in The Mirror, Moyes said, “Chelsea were close to taking him. Jose [Mourinho] was interested but we wouldn’t do any business. I had to fight to make sure he stayed – and was at the heart, again, of what Manchester United were going to be moving forward.”
The manager who was less than popular as he oversaw a disappointing seventh placed Premier League for Manchester United oversaw the emergence of Wayne Rooney at Goodison Park. Relations soured between the two though, as Moyes leaked the reasons for the striker’s departure via his 2006 autobiography.
The two later settled the matter out of court, but Moyes maintains the pair held a good relationship.
“I felt he’d lost a bit of his fight,” explained Moyes.
“The thing about Wayne was he was always a fighter; he’s a technically terrific footballer, can do anything with the ball, but behind it he’s a tough boy, a street fighter in his football, and I felt he’d lost a bit of that.
“I think he agreed and probably thought, ‘Wait a minute, I have to go back to being a bit more aggressive, a bit more myself.”
Since Moyes’ departure, Rooney has become a pivotal part of now manager Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United squad who are in a perfect position to retain their Champions League spot and sit in third place.