Transfer news

Van der Sar: Rooney must stay put

June 2, 2013
By ESPN staff

Edwin van der Sar has backed Wayne Rooney to put his troubles behind him and bounce back for Manchester United next season.

Rooney, 27, fell out of favour under Sir Alex Ferguson and wasn’t named in the squad for the final two Premier League games. He was also omitted from the starting line-up for the Champions League defeat against Real Madrid at Old Trafford.

He handed in a transfer request towards the end of the campaign and has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford. But former United goalkeeper Van der Sar believes that Rooney has the character and talent to regain his form and place in the United side.

"There has been so much pressure on him, you build him up and put all your money on him to make England world or European champions," he told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme.

"So it's also quite easy to cut him down again. Players have indifferent seasons and maybe Wayne's been overtaken by Robin van Persie this year but it's the hard work that he puts in for the team [that should be recognised].

Despite doubts about Rooney’s future with United, Van der Sar has warned the England international striker that he won’t find many other clubs at the same level.

He also believes that Rooney still has an important role to play for the Red Devils under new manager David Moyes.

"It was maybe a lesser season [for Rooney] and he didn't play the last couple of games but he's really important for United," he said.

"English players tend to stay in England to play their football and rightly so because you have big clubs, the tradition and the stadiums are always full.

"With the change of manager and backroom staff it could be a big change for Manchester United but I don't think you'll find a better atmosphere at many other clubs."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.