• Premier League

Rooney warned not to leave Man United

ESPN staff
March 13, 2013
Wayne Rooney still has plenty to offer Manchester United, according to Andrew Cole © PA Photos

Former Manchester United striker Andrew Cole has urged Wayne Rooney not to leave Old Trafford in the summer, citing his own decision to leave the club in 2001 as a mistake.

The future of 27-year-old Rooney was placed in doubt after he was left out of United's Champions League clash with Real Madrid last week and a number of European clubs, including PSG and Bayern Munich, began circling the striker.

But Cole, who left United for Blackburn after struggling to maintain a regular starting place, believes Rooney still has plenty to offer Sir Alex Ferguson and must learn to accept the manager's selections.

"Wayne is quality. He will play numerous amounts of games for United," Cole said. "He has a lot more games in him here and he will score numerous amounts of goals here as well.

"I cannot see it being a problem. Everyone has been left out of big games and then come back the week after. The manager leaves big players out of big matches. It has happened down the years. In the Treble-winning year, we get to the FA Cup final and he leaves players out.

"The last game of the Premier League season he left players out against Tottenham, I was one of them. The next big one you could be playing in. It's part and parcel of being at a club like United."

Rooney has faced stiff competition from summer recruit Robin van Persie this season, a situation similar to the presence of Ruud van Nistelrooy as Cole's United career came to an end.

"I can understand how Wayne may feel," he said. "I look back on what happened to me and, if I had not been so headstrong and stubborn, I could have stayed at United. I was not playing regular football at the time, so I was not the happiest man in the world and I was very stubborn and I made up my mind.

"I look back on it in hindsight and I think to myself, 'I should have stayed'. But ultimately, when you are young and vibrant you still want to play football week in, week out. You make a decision and you have to stand by it.

"That's what I did. But I look back now and realise I made the wrong decision. You look back and say, 'I should have done this and I should have done that'. I should have finished my career here. I had a great opportunity to do that. I had just signed a new contract.

"I had a fantastic relationship with the manager and he was always good for me. We sat down and talked about it numerous times before he actually finally said that he would let me go.

"Before that he kept saying no and said there was no chance I could leave. But I kept at it and I made a decision. You make decisions for a reason and for me it was simply because I wanted to play."

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