Ferguson backed over Rooney treatment
Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to drop Wayne Rooney for Manchester United's Champions League defeat to Real Madrid has been backed by an influential fan group, as would a potential sale of the England forward.
Rooney was a surprise omission from the United line-up for Tuesday's Champions League last-16 second leg against Real Madrid, a match which ended in the Red Devils losing on the night to send them out of the competition 3-2 on aggregate.
The move has led to renewed speculation over the 27-year-old's future at Old Trafford, as ESPN understands the club would be willing to listen to offers for the player this summer.
Such an eventuality would have been difficult to envisage not so long ago, but the chief executive of the United Supporters' Trust (MUST) believes any decision Ferguson makes regarding Rooney would be in the best interests of the club.
"Everyone recognises Rooney's talent, although perhaps there is some frustration that he hasn't quite pushed on and developed in the way people may have thought he was going to," Duncan Drasdo told the Guardian.
"We always back Sir Alex Ferguson's judgment in the end and, if he did decide to let him go, then that's probably the right decision in the best interest of the club."
Naming Rooney on the bench against Real appeared to be the right call from Ferguson, as United opened the scoring to take a 2-1 lead in the tie. However, Nani's second-half red card swung the balance of the meeting back in the Spanish champions' favour, and the ten men of United were unable to stop their former star team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo netting the goal which sent Real into the quarter-finals.
Drasdo believes that Ferguson's motives behind Rooney's omission were purely tactical, unlike previous examples of him leaving out star players.
"It was such a big match for Ferguson - it could be his last season for all we know," Drasdo added. "I don't think he would have picked a side for any other reason than it was the best side that might get the best result.
"It's crazy to think that he would snub a player by not playing him in a match like that. In the cases of Ruud van Nistelrooy, Jaap Stam and David Beckham it was more difficult to see the tactical argument for dropping them but I think people could see it in this case. As supporters, though, I don't think many would like to see Rooney go."
MUST, the official United supporters' group, has over 175,000 members.