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David Moyes’ first job will be to keep Rooney at Old Trafford

DAVID Moyes will be confirmed as the next Manchester United manager but one of his first tasks will be to retain the services of Wayne Rooney.

Moyes, whose £4m-a-year contract at Goodison Park expires at the end of the season, was in London last night to inform Everton chairman Bill Kenwright of his impending departure. Kenwright insisted last night that “a deal is not done” but an announcement is expected some time today.

However, one of the first tasks Moyes will face at United will be to persuade Wayne Rooney he has a future at the club.

The striker, who was sold by Moyes to United for £27million in Aug 2004, wants a new challenge after growing frustrated at his loss of status at the club.

He met Ferguson two weeks ago to explain his determination to leave the club this summer but was told by the outgoing manager that United would not agree to a sale. When asked about Rooney’s request last night a United spokesman said: “Wayne Rooney is not for sale.”

It is understood that Rooney, 27, has no desire to move away from the Premier League and that Chelsea is his most likely destination. Rooney’s uncertain future has increased speculation of a move for former player Cristiano Ronaldo, whose contract negotiations have reached an impasse at Real Madrid.

However, the cost of such a deal would make it difficult for United to sanction a move and any transfer would have to be approved by Moyes.

Moyes’ move to Old Trafford became a formality once United confirmed yesterday morning that Ferguson was to end his 27-year reign as manager following the Premier League fixture against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on May 19.

Despite long-term speculation linking Real coach Jose Mourinho with the United job, the Portuguese was not considered by the club’s American owners, the Glazer family.

Ferguson informed them in late February that this season would be his last. Neither United chief executive David Gill nor the Glazers tried to change his mind.

The Glazers and Gill sought Ferguson’s advice on the man best suited to succeed him and he nominated Moyes. Senior figures at the club ¬confirmed that the 71-year-old’s -contribution was fundamental to the decision to pursue Moyes.

Although Moyes’ lack of Champions League experience has been raised as a potential handicap to his ability to build on Ferguson’s legacy of two European Cups, United are confident that the 50-year-old will thrive among Europe’s elite.