Monday 5 December 2016

Ferguson: Rooney was quick to realise his mistake

Published 17/11/2010 | 16:27

Wayne Rooney stated last month that he would not sign a new contract, but two days later he agreed a five-year stay. Photo: PA
Wayne Rooney stated last month that he would not sign a new contract, but two days later he agreed a five-year stay. Photo: PA

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson believes Wayne Rooney realised he had made a major mistake when he felt the backlash against his plans to leave Old Trafford.

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Rooney stated last month that he would not sign a new contract with United, after failing to receive assurances over squad-strengthening.

But two days later he agreed a five-year stay, with Ferguson glad the England striker realised he had been hasty in going public over his concerns, which were met by an angry response from many supporters.

Ferguson believes the advice Rooney received was not in the 25-year-old's best interests.

"You don't necessarily have to heed advice after listening to it," Ferguson said.

"Some young people take bad advice. He has an agent who is not the most popular man in the world and he obviously sold it to Wayne to ask away. The boy rushed in.

"But the minute he heard the response of the public and our supporters, he changed his mind, he knew he'd made a mistake.

"There's nothing wrong with that as long as you recognise it. He immediately apologised and agreed a new contract within a couple of hours.

"It wasn't done to get the contract, I don't think that for a minute. But maybe he should have listened to better advice."

Ferguson is now hoping to see Rooney rediscover prime form, after struggling for goals this year.

Rooney has been at Nike's plush headquarters in Beaverton, on the west coach of the United States, for a week of conditioning work.

"We want to get Wayne back to his best," said Ferguson.

"He's had a good week in the States and we've got him to the point where we want him to be in terms of accelerating his fitness. Is he ready to get into the first team? We'll have to assess that when I get back."

Ferguson was a special guest at the inaugural Aspire4Sport conference in Qatar today, and admitted he has mellowed as a manager but it still prepared to give his players the hairdryer treatment if warranted.

The 68-year-old said he had forced himself to keep pace with players' modern habits, admitting their lifestyles are a new phenomenon for him.

"I've mellowed a great deal," he said. "The world has changed and so have players' attitudes.

"I'm dealing with more fragile human beings than I used to be. They are cocooned by modern parents, agents, even their own image at times.

"They need to be seen with their tattoos and earrings. It's a different world for me so I have had to adapt.

"There is nothing wrong with losing your temper if it's for the right reasons. But I never leave it till the next day. I don't believe in that.

"Some managers wait till Monday when they say things are calmer but I want to let it go after the game because I am already planning for the next one. Once I let it go, it's finished and I don't bring it up again. I don't wait till tomorrow."

Discussing the current season, Ferguson admitted United had at times been lucky.

He said: "I don't know how we are still unbeaten. We should have lost by six against Villa but in a way it was great because it was a reflection of what I have always believed in: when you give young people a chance they never disappoint you.

"That's what Villa did, they tore into us and had a fantastic belief in themselves. But we have a great group of young players at the club. We tend to go for younger players before older ones because they give you more loyalty."

On the subject of the Glazer family, Ferguson said he was "privileged" to work with owners who let him run the team.

"They have never bothered me or interfered with my job. I'm probably in a privileged position. Some owners are hands on because they've invested a lot of money, not just foreign owners.

"I've heard stories of owners texting managers during training sessions, English owners. Just because people are successful in business, doesn't mean they will be successful at a football club."

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