Alan Shearer has urged Wayne Rooney to leave Manchester United – and told the England captain to follow the lead of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.
Rooney’s career at the top level is under immense scrutiny after being dropped by both United and England, despite retaining the captain’s armband with both sides, and the player has been reportedly told by Jose Mourinho to leave Old Trafford if he wants regular first-team football.
And former England captain Shearer, writing for The Sun, believes the 31-year-old is facing the same crossroads Liverpool icon Gerrard and Chelsea legend Lampard both faced.
The midfield duo eventually left the clubs they had become revered at, and Shearer believes Rooney – who was linked with a move to Inter Milan on Wednesday – needs to do the same.
“For them, the time came when their clubs no longer needed them and when they were no longer going to be first choice,” he said.
“They either had to accept it or give up. And they accepted it, however hard that was. So Gerrard moved on to LA Galaxy and Lampard to Manchester City and New York City.
He continued: “Nobody wants to be sat on the bench or up in the stands when they feel fit enough to still play.
“For me, Rooney is someone who has to be playing. He is not an impact sub, a one-game-in-four player, or someone for those League Cup games. He needs to be out there week in, week out.
Shearer added: “We know how much it means to him to try to break Sir Bobby Charlton’s goalscoring record at United and he will not want to leave until he achieves that.
“But if he wants to succeed in his ambition to play in the 2018 World Cup, then he must move clubs. It looks unlikely he can achieve both. He will not get picked for England if he is not playing regularly.
“I doubt he would go to China and and though a move to the MLS seems the most plausible option, it would hinder his international chances. Outside of maybe boyhood club Everton, how many Premier League sides would want or could afford him?”