Former Manchester United and England footballer, Wayne Rooney accused Manchester United stars of lacking effort and commitment while also refusing to offer his backing to struggling boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
England and Manchester United’s all-time leading scorer, now in charge of Championship club Derby, watched in horror as his former club were beaten 5-0 at home by Liverpool last Sunday, putting Solskjaer’s future into serious doubt.
While Rooney gave only a lukewarm assessment of his former team-mate, Solksjaer, he was in no doubt who should take the majority of the blame.
‘There are very educated people at the top of Manchester United,’ he said. ‘I’m sure they will be looking at everything to see how they move forward in the near future, whether that’s with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or without.” Rooney said on Thursday night, October 28.
‘The players have to question themselves and look at themselves. It’s too easy for the manager to take all the stick when those players are being paid a lot of money to do the job and I don’t think they’re doing it well enough.
‘There is a big responsibility on those players. They are world-class players, international players and a club like Manchester United need more. Those players need to feel hurt when they lose games.
‘There are high demands at that club, high pressure, and I’m seeing too many players not willing to run back, not willing to defend, not willing to put everything on the line and that’s not acceptable. Are you telling me that’s the manager’s fault or the players’ fault? I don’t know.’
After finishing second to City last season, United brought back Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer and also signed Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho but their performances have gone backwards, with five defeats in their last nine games in all competitions.
Former England captain Rooney added: ‘The Liverpool game wasn’t easy to watch. Liverpool are a fantastic team, similar to United in terms of the world-class players they have and they probably have the best in the world at the minute in Mohamed Salah.
‘But the only difference is that they are working off the ball. At Derby, my players know that they won’t play if they don’t work hard enough. There is no excuse not to work. It’s the first thing I said to the players when I took the job.
‘Whatever decision [United] make they’ll feel it’s the right decision. What I know is you can’t just bow down to what [people on the outside] want.
‘I’m sure United have a plan in place whether that’s with or without Ole. They will make decisions on that at the right time, I’m sure.’