Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Beginning of the end for Rooney

Wayne Rooney

Yes, it's a week ago but I'm sure you'll excuse some reflections on that Real Madrid win at Old Trafford.

Of course, the Turkish referee made a mistake in not contenting himself with a yellow card for Nani. It was the pivotal moment of the game, the tie.

However, as for Jose Mourinho's assertion that "the best team lost", try to treat it for what it was: an application to succeed Sir Alex. I'll bet he wasn't thinking United were 'better' on the plane ride home and any strict analysis of the match could assert that Real might have scored three, four or five.

The exclusion of Wayne Rooney from the starting line-up? David Moyes argued he could see sense in it on a tactical basis and he may have been right.

But I was commentating a decade ago when David Beckham was left out against Madrid. He knew and we knew it was the beginning of the end.

Ask Roy Keane, who bravely confirmed it on ITV: when Fergie leaves you out of such a game, the message couldn't be clearer. Or, you can always 'trust' Sir Alex given what he's said since.

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