PLAY IT SHORT: Fergie gets his Rooney revenge; Fantastic McManaman; Will Moyes dump Rene?; Mancini blew Cup with Rodwell sub
FERGIE GETS HIS ROONEY REVENGE
Sir Alex Ferguson knew exactly what he was doing yesterday when dropping the Wayne Rooney bombshell. In the morning, some newspapers carried reports of the Rooney camp being livid over claims he had asked away just weeks ago and 'were investigating the source of the story'. Leaving Rooney completely out of his squad for the win over Swansea City would've been marked as mean spirited, if not for Fergie's revelation in the post-match interviews. The manager insists they've turned Rooney's request down. But you wonder if there can be anyway back. This is the second time, publicly, that Rooney's demand to leave has been confirmed. Two years ago a truce was agreed between all parties. But with sections of the Old Trafford support booing their former hero during the medals presentation yesterday, it's difficult to see the England man playing for United again. Ferguson has his revenge.
Ricky Villa, Dave Bennett and now Callum McManaman. The young Wigan Athletic winger deservedly takes his place in FA Cup folklore among the very best individual performances the final has thrown up. Gael Clichy couldn't live with him, Matija Nastasic didn't fare any better and even the ridiculous accusations coming from Vincent Kompany didn't put him off his stride. Saturday was a genuine throw back to the great one-on-one contests which made British football famous for it's wingers. McManaman didn't need, nor want, someone to play the ball around the fullback. He just took on the responsibility himself and skinned Clichy time and again. After so much focus on the tippy-tappy of Barcelona, it was exhilarating to see an English winger, with bottle and aggression, challenging his immediate opponent one-on-one. It was just fantastic.
CITY DIDN'T WANT IT AS MUCH AS WIGAN
One moment early in the second-half summed up Manchester City's performance and the difference between the two teams at Wembley. Pablo Zabaleta, the City fullback, had made an adventurous run down Wigan's left and fired the ball across Joel Robles' goal face. David Silva, unmarked at the far post, appeared to be dawdling in, with no real desperation. His hands went to his face in frustration, but the effort was done at three-quarter - at best. Swap Silva with McManaman and you fancy the Scouser would've hared in, throwing himself at the ball. He still may not have reached it, but he wouldn't have died wondering. City just didn't want it as much Wigan.
CAUTIOUS MANCINI BLEW IT
When the game was there to be won, Roberto Mancini took off one of his matchwinners, Carlos Tevez, and replaced him with defensive midfielder Jack Rodwell. The aggression of Wigan's ball players, McManaman and Maloney, forced the City manager's hand. But rather than go toe-to-toe, he took the cautious route and paid for it. Indeed, it couldn't have ended worse, with Rodwell being caught napping by Wigan's own second-half sub Ben Watson for that famous header.
WHO WAS MOYES SCOUTING STROOTMAN FOR?
So who was David Moyes scouting for on recent trips to Holland? The outgoing Everton manager has made checks on PSV Eindhoven talent, particularly Kevin Strootman, in recent months. Now Dick Advocaat, the PSV coach, has declared his star midfielder should be moving to "Manchester United or Manchester City". At Everton, Moyes would've struggled to find the cash to bring Strootman to England. But as Manchester United manager, it's now a different story. Strootman, hard-working and energetic, fits the Moyes mould and if he feels his new midfield does need strengthening, he's already done the legwork on a target also watched extensively by Sir Alex Ferguson's brother, Martin, in his final season as United's chief scout.
NO NEED FOR SENTIMENT REGARDING LAMPARD
Even if sentiment doesn't come into the thinking of Roman Abramovich regarding Frank Lampard, certainly sheer, hardnosed business sense does. Without Lampard's goals and inspiration, Chelsea wouldn't be close to the top four. There is no-one within Chelsea and very few outside capable of dragging the current team over the top four line as Lampard has done this season. Sentiment doesn't come into it. It would be top four suicide allowing him to leave this summer.
MOYES CRAZY TO RATTLE MAN UTD COACHING STAFF
Will David Moyes really threaten the stability at Manchester United by shaking up perhaps the best backroom team in Europe? Rene Meulensteen, now so influential with his detailed pre-match planning at United, has already expressed concerns about his future at Old Trafford since Sir Alex Ferguson's announcement. Mike Phelan, visibly emotional during Ferguson's speech to the Old Trafford crowd yesterday, is also under threat. It would be a big mistake for Moyes to bring across people from Everton and unsettle a coaching team which has allowed Ferguson to be so hands off in recent seasons.