Soccer

What is Wayne Rooney Doing in Portland, Oregon?

| by Ian Palmer

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson says he has no gripe with Wayne Rooney even after his star striker basically held the club hostage to get a new contract recently. But for some reason he’s sent Rooney halfway around the world to Portland, Oregon to train in America for a week. Supposedly it’s to get a change of scenery, but with a weather forecast of rain all week, it won’t be much different than being in Manchester.

Maybe getting out of the public eye in England’s a good thing at the moment though, as he’s definitely not the favorite son with many people anymore. In fact, his likeness was burned in effigy in the small English town of Edenbridge a few days ago. Most fans are pretty upset with the way he went about getting his new contract, which was to announce he was leaving the club, then getting a deal for about 250,000 pounds a week (U.S. 78.3 million over five years) and announcing he had no intention of leaving. His wife’s also pretty pissed off at him for spending some of his “hard earned money” on hookers, especially when she was pregnant with his child.

Anyway, Rooney’s travelled about 6,000 miles or so and has landed a gig at Nike World, the sports equipment giant’s global headquarters. The place is a virtual holiday resort for athletes of all sports and features squash, basketball, tennis, and beach volleyball courts along with a swimming pool, putting green, athletic track, indoor gym, and climbing wall. But Rooney’s been sent there to make use of the facility’s soccer pitches and to work on his endurance while recovering from an ankle injury.

He’ll will be going through all sorts of grueling tests and training programs to help him regain his form of last season when he scored over 30 goals for United. He could definitely use all the help he can get as he’s scored the grand total of one this year and that came on a penalty kick. From the sounds of it he won’t get the chance to double his output until Nov. 20 at the earliest and will miss United’s derby against cross town rival Manchester City on Nov. 10. He’ll also miss England’s next game, which is against France a week later.

The stint in America is basically to keep the press off of Rooney’s back because there’s nothing he can do there that he couldn’t be doing in England. But knowing the British press, it’s unlikely Rooney will be left alone there since the media outlets are always trying to outdo each other in the scandal and gossip department. But if Rooney behaves himself they probably won’t have much to write about for the next week or so.

Staying out of the headlines isn’t going to make fans forget him though because Rooney’s been playing with fire in more ways than one for the last few months now, ever since England’s brutal performance at the World Cup in South Africa this summer. It’ll be interesting to see how the fans around the country react to him the next time he steps on a pitch in England. Being burned in effigy might seem pretty mild in comparison to what could be coming.

Bet365.com has the odds of United beating Manchester City on Nov. 10 at +150 with City at +188 and a draw at +225. Also check out Justbet.