Lee Trundle column: Wayne Rooney situation will disrupt Manchester United and help Swansea City
SWANSEA City could be the beneficiaries this evening because Wayne Rooney's position at Manchester United will undoubtedly have an unsettling effect on his team-mates.
The saga over whether Rooney is to remain at Old Trafford has rumbled on for weeks.
And it seems pretty clear that he is looking for a way out.
United have so far blocked his exit, and that does not make for a happy player.
Of course, publicly Rooney is unlikely to talk about his situation, and his team-mates are not going to comment on what he's told them privately.
Rooney can't come out in the papers and say he wants to go. That would make his position totally untenable if United play hardball and force him to stay.
But take it from me, if a player is unhappy at a club, his colleagues will know all about it.
Rooney is a professional and at one of the biggest clubs in the world.
He would have too much respect for United to be sullying their great name.
But his frustration is bound to leak out in training, and that dissatisfaction can spread through the camp.
I've been around unhappy players — they can be like a dark cloud around the place, brooding and miserable.
And that negativity can definitely seep into other people's attitudes.
The England striker was at the centre of a similar tug-of-war a couple of years ago when he was rumoured to want to leave United for Manchester City.
In the end he signed a new contract to remain at Old Trafford.
That seemed to have a lot to do with the impressive knack Sir Alex Ferguson had for getting his own way.
But David Moyes has just got his feet under the table and may not yet possess the same kind of powerful authority.
Rooney has not played for United all through pre-season, apparently because of a shoulder injury.
However, he did turn out for England in midweek.
He is unlikely to be match fit after not featuring in any friendlies.
But even if fully fit, I would be amazed to see him involved when United visit the Liberty today.
It is not sensible to include a player whose mind is elsewhere — you need to make sure everyone on the field is pulling in the same direction.
The Rooney situation is one reason why I agree with some pundits who have said this is a great time for Swansea to play the champions.
Another factor I believe will count in Swansea's favour is that Moyes is still finding his feet in a new job.
As an Everton — and Swansea — fan I have an enormous amount of time for Moyes, who did a terrific job at Goodison Park.
He is an excellent tactical manager, a fact he has proved over the last two years in SA1.
In both Premier League matches at the Liberty, Everton did an excellent job of disrupting Swansea's passing rhythm and deservedly secured wins each time.
I don't think I've seen any other team deal with Swansea's style as effectively as the Toffees.
I'm sure Moyes will also be a huge success at United.
But he will take time to bed in.
There are inevitably going to be early creases that need ironing out and Swansea can capitalise on that.
They are already up and running after two competitive Europa League games and a pair of impressive performances against Malmo.
Swansea's new signings will also take time to fully adjust to life at the Liberty.
But United have yet to make a major move in the transfer market.
They almost certainly will, with Wales star Gareth Bale among those rumoured to be on Moyes's shopping list.
It can only be a positive for Swansea to play United before players of that calibre arrive.