Wayne Rooney names the three Man Utd players that proved the club was going backwards


Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney has revealed three regulars following Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure ‘weren’t the same’ quality he was used to at the club.

Ferguson retired as United manager in 2013 after 26 years of success in the Old Trafford dugout.

He stepped away having won the Premier League title and told supporters to ‘stand by’ David Moyes.

Despite that backing, Moyes was sacked in April 2014, with the Red Devils eventually finishing seventh that season.

Ferguson believed he’d left Moyes all the tools he needed to succeed in the biggest job in world football.

However, United continued to slide and they’re yet to win another Premier League title, 11 years on.

Rooney saw several teammates, who he won several major honours with, depart the club over the coming years.

Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra were all allowed to move on, while Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes retired.

Speaking on the Stick to Football podcast, brought to you by Sky Bet, Rooney discussed the departures and the players who were tasked with filling the void.


The former United striker named academy graduates Jesse Lingard, Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley as stars who ‘weren’t the same’ as Ferguson’s core group.

He said: “Firstly, at Manchester United, we were losing the core of the team in Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, they were all on their last legs, so we were losing that presence in the changing room, which left me and Michael Carrick from our generation.

“Then you’ve got the likes of Jesse Lingard, Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley coming through, who had good careers, but they weren’t the same as the core group we had.

Football was changing, the behaviour of players and everything around football was changing and that was a big thing.


“I remember after the Liverpool game when we got beat at Old Trafford in 2014 under David Moyes, the players were dancing around the changing room the next day at the training ground, playing hip-hop music. I tried taking the speaker out of the room and you can try to control as much as possible, but you can’t really.”

Lingard was the most successful of the trio at United. He won the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Europa League before leaving in 2022.

Welbeck departed for Arsenal in 2014 and is still in the Premier League with Brighton. Cleverley, meanwhile, retired in 2023 due to injury.

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