Wayne Rooney will seek the public backing of David Moyes when he returns for pre-season training at Manchester United next month in an effort to prevent supporter hostility from driving him out of Old Trafford.
Although Ferguson’s claim has been disputed by Rooney’s advisers, the player has since been the target of criticism from supporters, many of whom booed and jeered him when he received his Premier League winners’ medal last month and then during the club’s trophy parade through the streets of Manchester the following evening.
Rooney, on holiday following international duty with England in Brazil this month, has yet to resolve his United future with Moyes, despite the former Everton manager attending to club business at Old Trafford ahead of his official start date of July 1 following his appointment as successor to Ferguson.
With Moyes now also on holiday until late this month, an opportunity for the two men to discuss the player’s future is unlikely to emerge until the end of the month.
It is understood, however, that Ferguson’s retirement at the end of the season has not automatically cleared the path to Rooney remaining at the club for the final two years of his contract.
While the player has kept his counsel on Ferguson’s comments about his desire to leave United, he is aware of the impact of the Scot’s claims and the weight that his words continue to carry among the club’s supporters.
Having asked to leave United in October 2010, prior to signing his £250,000-a-week five-year contract, Rooney has already been forced to work to win back those supporters angered by his stand-off with the club three years ago.
While the player ultimately regained the backing of the majority of the United supporters, much of that has evaporated as a result of Ferguson’s disclosure that Rooney had asked to leave for a second time two months ago.
Ferguson’s continuing presence at United as a director and club ambassador has denied Rooney a clean break from a manager with whom he once shared a strong relationship.
Privately, Rooney remains insistent that he did not submit a transfer request when discussing his frustrations with Ferguson in April, when he spoke to him about his unhappiness at being overlooked for the Champions League tie against Real Madrid in March before being dropped to the substitutes’ bench for subsequent Premier League games.
Moyes’s arrival as manager has given Rooney the opportunity to start with a clean slate when the squad report for training on July 3, but the player remains concerned by potential negativity from the supporters. That could be discounted if Moyes admits to being persuaded by Rooney that he is committed to United.
United have said Rooney is not for sale and it is understood that, even if Moyes decides to sanction a transfer, the player will not be sold to a domestic rival, which would leave United with a small field of potential buyers.
Meanwhile, Cesc Fabregas, who has been linked with a move back to the Premier League, with Manchester United touted as possible suitors, after struggling to hold down a place at Barcelona, has told a Spanish radio station that he wishes to remain at the Nou Camp.
“If Barcelona said that they didn’t want me, that would be another thing but what I truly want is to triumph at Barcelona,” the former Arsenal midfielder said.