Alex Ferguson promises Wayne Rooney a new contract despite mounting speculation
ALEX Ferguson has promised Manchester United will offer Wayne Rooney a new contract despite the fierce scrutiny over the striker's future after he did not start the Champions League tie against Real Madrid.
The United manager also rounded on the Football Association, accusing them of demanding too many media and commercial commitments from Rooney when he is on England duty - but then punishing the 27-year-old more harshly than other players for any misdemeanor.
With Rooney expected to start the FA Cup quarter-final at home to Chelsea, Ferguson said he was not aware that the striker's current deal has just over two years left to run. A negotiation would be expected this summer.
"I wasn't even aware of that [his contract running out]," Ferguson said. "So there's no issue with his contract, when it has to be renegotiated it will be done. We don't want players to leave." If negotiations were opened, though, it would be highly unlikely that Rooney would be offered anywhere near the £250,000-a-week salary he secured after threatening to quit United for Manchester City in 2010. His importance has since diminished.
Ferguson is not renowned for being completely truthful with public statements about big-name players. Cristiano Ronaldo left despite the manager claiming he would not sell Real Madrid "a virus". His claims about Rooney could simply be an attempt to kill the story.
However, when asked again whether Rooney would be at United next season, Ferguson stated: "Absolutely. There's no doubt about that." He also attacked claims that his relationship with the England international was strained. "To say I don't talk to him at the training ground is absolute b-------. It's nonsense that," he said, even though that has not specifically been suggested. "It's an insult to me."
On the criticism of Rooney's fitness and the comments about his future, Ferguson said: "That's absolute rubbish all of that. It's because he's a stellar England player, that's your problem. He's the Gascoigne, the Bobby Charlton. He's the best English player and therefore any publicity they can get from him they will use." Ferguson added: "I spoke to him yesterday. I said: 'You're going to have to go through a bit of s--- at the moment.' But that's the name of the game.
"I keep telling him he's too trusting. I say to him: 'I don't know why you do anything when you get with the FA.' They force him every time he goes down there [on England duty]. He shouldn't be doing anything with them. They've not helped him one bit.
"Every time he does anything they punish him more than anybody in the game. He should be realising that. I would not do a thing for the FA."
There have been strong indications that Rooney could be sold for as little as £20million this summer with Ferguson having regularly expressed his concern over the striker's conditioning.
- Jason Burt, Telegraph.co.uk