The moment Manchester United David Moyes first labelled Wayne Rooney uncontrollable, when both men were at Everton.
Goodison Park, January 2004. An FA Cup tie against Fulham.
Precocious talent Wayne Rooney had been flagged offside, and wasn’t happy.
He proceeded to run on and fire in a shot anyway, the effort flying into the ranks of the disabled fans behind the goal.
Referee Dermot Gallagher cautioned him, and admitted afterwards that had the ball actually struck anyone he would have sent him off.
On the final whistle the Everton manager conceded to the match official, “He is some talent but he’s uncontrollable… you’d have done him a favour if you had sent him off.”
If Moyes thought he had problems with the talented youngster, he now knows he has problems with the finished product of an adult.
The difference is that the new gaffer at Old Trafford is in a much stronger position than when he first had to deal with the kid from Croxteth.
Now Moyes can afford to ditch Rooney for a number of reasons. The best players in the world would be interested in strutting their stuff at United, or to put it another way, Rooney is very very replaceable.
And Moyes and the hierarchy at United haven’t been shy about saying so.
Roy Keane’s comment, “The writing’s on the wall”, when Sir Alex Ferguson dropped Rooney for the Champions League clash with Real Madrid, rings true now more than ever.
In fact the writing on the wall right now is daubed in letters so large that even the myopic Mr Magoo would have been able to read it, and whatever else Rooney can be accused of, blindness is not a weak point.
He agitated for a move two years ago, and whilst it is possible he was really agitating for a pay rise, surely given his stature at the club back then all he had to do was ask. There was no need for a thinly veiled threat to leave.
So what was the real reason? Could it be that Colleen fancies London, or Paris, could it be that is what she wants what she really really wants… rather like David Beckhams significant other.
Either way Rooney has crashed into the wall – the one the writing was on remember – and has encountered an immovable object.
Given his previous on field reaction to provocation, expect the boots to be flying in the Old Trafford dressing room someday soon, only this time it might well be the player taking aim at the manager.
Either way the exit door beckons, Moyes right from that evening by Stanley Park knew what he was dealing with, now he is in the position to deal with it as he sees fit.