Wayne Rooney reaches crossroads in Manchester United career

Robin van Persie's arrival from Arsenal last year had already obliged Rooney to play second fiddle in the United attack, but until Madrid came to town, the former Everton man had appeared to be manager Alex Ferguson's preferred partner for him.

updated: March 08, 2013 16:57 IST
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London: Wayne Rooney's unceremonious demotion to the substitutes' bench in Manchester United's Champions League loss to Real Madrid has triggered speculation that his time at the club could be coming to an end.

There was widespread incredulity at Old Trafford on Tuesday when the publication of the team-sheets for the last 16 second-leg match revealed that Rooney would be starting the encounter in the dug-out.

Rooney's disappointment will only have been compounded by the sight of his junior colleague Danny Welbeck taking up his usual role as the withdrawn striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

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