WAYNE ROONEY may need to leave Manchester United to rekindle his appetite for football.
Mike Phelan, formerly assistant manager at Old Trafford, admits England star Rooney may feel he needs a new challenge elsewhere.
He said: “Wayne is at the greatest club you can be at.
“Why would you want to jeopardise that, unless you want a fresh challenge and you feel that challenge isn’t being met at Manchester United?”
Rooney, 27, reportedly asked to leave the club at the end of last season having made a similar request in 2010.
However, Phelan — who left his post after Alex Ferguson retired in May — believes Rooney can still be the main man at United if he decides to stay with the champions.
Phelan added: “He might have hit a blip in certain performances, but he isn’t the first or last player to have done that.
“You have to nurse them through it and hopefully he responds to that. Sometimes you have to crack the whip with him.
“Wayne has responded as well as he feels he can do for United.”
Rooney is due to meet new United boss David Moyes this week to discuss his future.
Arsenal and Chelsea are among the clubs interested in signing him if he decides to move on.
Phelan also revealed how keen Ferguson was to keep hold of Rooney when he asked to leave three years ago.
He said: “The manager was terrific. He talked to him and asked why he would want to leave the club.
“The Press conference Sir Alex gave was a bit of a tear-jerker and it was genuine.
"There was an element that he’d chased this boy and paid big money. He was the boy that could change United.”