Real move for Rooney just 'silly season' talk, says Fergie
Alex Ferguson has insisted Wayne Rooney will still be contesting Manchester derbies in a United shirt next season after ruling out the prospect of Real Madrid luring the forward to Spain.
Ferguson, who confirmed yesterday that 35-year-old midfielder Paul Scholes had signed a new one-year contract at Old Trafford, expects Rooney to have overcome his ankle injury in time to face Manchester City at Eastlands.
But with Real Madrid reportedly plotting a summer move for the striker, Ferguson was emphatically dismissive of their hopes of reuniting Rooney with Cristiano Ronaldo, who left United in a €94m move to the Bernabeu last June.
"Well, this is the silly season isn't it? It always happens," he said. "Wayne Rooney will be at Manchester United next season. Wayne has done some work in the last couple of days, but we will wait to see how he is before making a decision.
"The same applies to Ryan Giggs (hamstring) and Rio Ferdinand (groin). There is a problem in terms of the recovery part, but at least they did some jogging on Thursday. It is up in the air in terms of their selection, though.
"All players want to play in these games, but with Wayne we have to be 100pc right because this derby game will be different to the Bayern Munich game in the sense that it will be really hectic, particularly the early part of the game.
"Wayne was physically ready for the Bayern game, the medical people passed him fit, and there were no doubts in my mind," he maintained. "It was unfortunate that he went over on the ankle, but that can happen at any time."
Meanwhile, Owen Hargreaves, absent from first-team duty having undergone double knee surgery since his last senior outing in September 2008, is in contention to be named in the squad for today's trip to Eastlands.
United must beat City to retain any realistic hope of winning the Premier League title, but, while City may feel aggrieved at the appointment of Martin Atkinson as referee for the game in Steve Bennett's absence, Ferguson has also had a series of run-ins with Atkinson and claimed that his players were starting to lose faith in referees after criticising the official's performance in the wake of his team's 1-0 defeat away to Chelsea in November (© Daily Telegraph, London)