David Moyes has revealed how he had to fight tooth and nail to convince Wayne Rooney to stay at Manchester United following the breakdown of his relationship with the club in 2013, prior to the Real Sociedad head coach's arrival at Old Trafford.
The former Red Devils boss recalls in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Times just how close the striker came to quitting the Theatre of Dreams, but believes he deserves credit for orchestrating a turnaround in the 29-year-old's mindset.
Rooney has been a key figure for Manchester United under the new tutelage of Louis van Gaal and has relished the responsibility that comes with the club captaincy after being handed the role by the Dutch tactician last August.
Given how well he's playing this season it's easy to forget the rift that took place around the time of Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement, and Moyes explained it was not easy to repair the damage.
“It was only a short time ago that Wayne could have easily left United," he said. “At the time there was a lot of media [speculation] that Wayne might be going and I’ve got to say it took a bit of time [to change the situation].
"I didn’t have an easy start to pre-season. It wasn’t just that I’d taken over Manchester United, I had to fight that situation. But I felt I had a good relationship with Wayne. I’d always spoken straight with him.
“From day one I felt the best thing for Wayne would be to stay. I told him that all the time. And I felt he’d lost a bit of his fight.
"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 all 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.’ He trained really hard and there was a real determination about him. Maybe he felt he had a point to prove. He’s proved it."
With 14 goals in 33 appearances in all competitions this term Manchester United supporters have certainly enjoyed seeing Rooney reproducing some of his best form, which is a very encouraging sign for the future.
However, they must also remember the important role that Moyes played in getting the skipper back onside - without him none of this might have been possible.
Does David Moyes deserve any credit for Wayne Rooney's current form, or do you think he would've stayed at Old Trafford regardless? Have your say in the comment box below...
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