Man United had to crack the whip with Wayne Rooney, reveals Mike Phelan

Former Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan backs Wayne Rooney to recover from his blip in form last season

wayne rooney
Wayne Rooney scored 12 Premier League goals last season Photo: bwin

Mike Phelan has revealed Manchester United had to “crack the whip” with Wayne Rooney to help the striker rediscover his best form last season.

The England international managed a tame 12 goals for the Red Devils in their Premier League title-winning season as his performances were overshadowed by Robin van Persie’s exploits.

Rooney saw a transfer request rejected by Sir Alex Ferguson towards the end of last season before the Scot’s retirement, sparking speculation about his future.

Phelan, who left his post as United assistant in May, reckons David Moyes must continue to nurse the best out of Rooney if the former Everton striker decides to stay beyond the summer.

“He might have hit a blip in certain performances, but he isn’t the first or last player to have done that,” Phelan told BBC Sport.

“You have to nurse them through it and hopefully he responds to that. Sometimes you have to crack the whip with him. Wayne has responded as well as he feels he can do for United.”

Phelan also revealed Ferguson’s desperation to keep hold of Rooney when the England star first handed in a transfer request in October 2010 before having a change of heart and staying at United.

“Every player is entitled to express a desire to want to move on,” said Phelan. “Any player can do that at any time.

“In Wayne’s case, in the first instance in 2010, he took a lot of advice and got steered towards making that call, but the manager was terrific. He talked to him and asked why would he want to leave the club.

“The press conference Sir Alex gave was a bit of a tear-jerker and it was genuine. There was an element that he’d chased this boy and paid big money. He was the boy that could change United.”

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