SAD NEWS!!!! Wayne Rooney's goodbye

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You can tell a lot about a man in the way he says goodbye.
John Terry stage-managed his own send-off from Chelsea this weekend with all the subtlety and grace of a hippopotamus at the wheel of a forklift truck.
Just as happened in Moscow in 2008, when he insisted on taking what he anticipated to be the Champions League winning penalty only to feel the ground slip from under him, the workings of hubris came back to cuff him resolutely round the ear.
His tearful send-off after 26 minutes, through a guard of honour of his colleagues, was meant to serve as an appropriate full stop to a wonderful, stellar, trophy-strewn career. Instead it looked cheap and contrived, sending a shiver of distaste down the spine of many observers.
Compare that to what happened to Wayne Rooney on Sunday. There was no marching off at 10 minutes pointedly to coincide with his shirt number. No phalanx of applause. Rather, starting his team's final league match of the season to ensure freshness in the legs of those required for more significant engagements ahead, he left the stage when his manager deemed it appropriate.
Sure, from the crowd there was a stirring ovation for his departure on 90 minutes. But what made it all the more meaningful was the identity of the player who came on for him.
Angel Gomes, the first player born this century to play in the Premier League, later described his delight at replacing the all-time leading scorer of the club he has supported all his life.
He tweeted a picture of him taken with Rooney 10 years ago, when he was a gap-toothed six-year-old in a United shirt beaming in his hero's presence. Alongside it he put a shot of him replacing Rooney in Sunday's fixture with the caption, "10 years later! Anything is possible if you believe".

Angel Gomes comes on to replace Wayne Rooney for Manchester United.

It wasn't just the suspicious improvement in Rooney's hairline across that decade that was remarkable about Gomes's poignant tribute. It was the way it reinforced a fundamental understanding of the long-serving captain's exit. There was no choreographed insistence that an era had come to an end with his going, no engineered assertion that we would never see his like again.
Instead, his withdrawal was spontaneously cast as an act of continuity, of one generation seamlessly melding into the next. Rather than that of a self-styled legend, this was the departure of the ultimate team man, a casting back to the moment in August 2002 when he first ran out in Everton colours, a moment that almost certainly passed Gomes by. After all, he was then just learning how to walk.
Sure, unlike Terry at Chelsea, there has not yet been official confirmation that this was indeed the last we will see of Rooney in United colours at Old Trafford. But every indication has been given that his time has been called.


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