WAYNE Rooney will be forced to submit an official transfer request if he is to end his stand-off with Manchester United by leaving Old Trafford.
Despite the rift between player and club growing overnight, United are not prepared to soften their stance on their 'not for sale' position.
The United forward's future at the club appears bleak following claims by sources close to the 27 year-old that he has been left 'angry and confused' by comments from manager David Moyes and chief executive Ed Woodward about his prospects at Old Trafford, on and off the pitch.
With Moyes speaking publicly at the weekend, in an interview carried in the Sunday Telegraph, about Robin van Persie taking precedence over Rooney as United's number one striker, the player believes such comments have left him having to prove himself to the club.
Similarly, the insistence of Woodward that Rooney would not be offered a new contract this summer to replace the final two years of his £250,000-a-week contract has also angered the England international.
While there remains the prospect of Moyes softening Rooney's stance by insisting that his comments were taken out of context, senior figures at United remain determined to control the situation with the player.
It is understood that the club will not simply sanction Rooney's departure on the basis of his anger and confusion and that there is resistance within Old Trafford to the forward leaving for a domestic rival, such as Chelsea and Arsenal, who are both interested in the player.
United, whose hierarchy are currently in Sydney on the Australian leg of the club's summer tour, are keen to stick to their stance that Rooney is not for sale.
Whether that policy will remain unchanged throughout the transfer window is unclear, particularly if Rooney signals his intentions by submitting a written request to leave the club.
Moyes has spoken to Rooney on several occasions this summer, with the two men meeting at each others' homes in an effort to break the impasse.
However, with Rooney now back in England after returning from the club's tour with a hamstring injury, communication between manager and player is likely to be difficult in the coming days.
Moyes and his squad, as well as senior United figures, remained silent on Rooney's situation in Sydney.
Up to 60 members of the squad and staff, including Moyes, are due to attend this evening's State of Origin rugby league game between New South Wales and Queensland at Sydney's ANZ Stadium.