Giggs' new role pivotal in crunch Rooney talks
Player-coach tasked with persuading striker to accept performance-related deal at Old Trafford
WAYNE ROONEY'S Manchester United future is likely to hinge on his willingness to accept a highly incentivised contract if he is to take home the same £250,000-a-week pay packet he was awarded in his last deal.
Rooney's failure to justify the most lucrative salary at Old Trafford is one of the problems new manager David Moyes and chief executive Ed Woodward face in matching his agent Paul Stretford's expectations for a new deal.
With an increasing number of Premier League clubs seeking to make up to a third of new-contract salaries performance-related, a deal contingent on games played, goals scored and United's own success seems likely to form a key part of United's negotiating stance.
It was unclear last night whether the Rooney and United camps have held the meeting they had scheduled for this week, though they did have the opportunity to do so yesterday.
The new chief executive was present at the Carrington training ground, where the players had a double training session. He addressed the squad himself from a small stage set up within the training facility.
Rooney, who arrived at 9.30, is understood to have looked happy to be back in his work surroundings and showed no sign of tension, though that does not preclude him pushing for a transfer to Chelsea when he sits down to discuss his future.
The Rooney issue is likely to dominate the Old Trafford press conference at which Moyes will sit alongside club captain Nemanja Vidic and be formally introduced as United manager at 4.0 today – five days after starting work at the club.
Ahead of the keenly awaited presentation, he and the club sought to emphasise the continuity in transition at United by announcing Ryan Giggs' appointment as a player-coach and Phil Neville's return to the club as a member of the coaching staff.
In the short term, Giggs is viewed as a key individual in United's battle to get Rooney's career at the club back on track.
The Welshman's recent eight-day Pro-Licence coaching assignment at the U-20s World Cup in Turkey demonstrates his aspiration to manage, though United will be looking to him in the short term to play a key role in persuading Rooney to seize the fresh start that Moyes is ready to give him.
With a dearth of players who can influence Rooney in the dressing-room, the 27-year-old's relationship with Giggs means he is far more likely to stand a few home truths from him than any other player. Rooney's relationship with Rio Ferdinand, for example, is not as strong.
Giggs is likely to urge Rooney to consider the positives in Moyes' arrival: that the new manager is ready to accept the Englishman's protestations that he did not formally demand a transfer of Alex Ferguson weeks before the former manager's retirement, and that he is likely to give him more opportunity to prove himself in his preferred attacking role.
However, Rooney's decision is likely to come down to money and whether he is willing to accept there is no big new salary package for him.
Having confirmed Steve Round, Chris Woods and Jimmy Lumsden were following him from Everton, concern had been expressed about the lack of United experience in Moyes' back-room team following his appointment as Ferguson's successor.
Neville's arrival at the club's training complex yesterday morning, where he launched himself immediately into a training session, will help allay such concerns.
"When David called to give me this opportunity, I couldn't resist," Neville said. "I gave my all when I played for Everton but it is no secret that this club is in my heart."
Giggs, the ultimate one-club man, will see his addition to the back-room unit as the ideal chance to ease into the next phase of his career.
"It's no secret that I have been taking my qualifications and I see this as the first step in my future career," said the 39-year-old Giggs. "I'm really looking forward to working alongside David and the team."
Moyes said: "I'm delighted that Ryan has accepted the chance to become player-coach. His ability to adapt his game over a number of years gives him an unrivalled perspective on the modern game. I'm sure that both he and the players will benefit from his new role."
On Neville, Moyes said: "I have known and worked with Philip for eight years and in that time I have come to know his dedication, ability to lead and appetite for hard work. In addition, of course, he understands the club very well and I think his addition to the coaching staff will be a valuable one."
Former Manchester United goalkeeper and coach Jack Crompton has died at the age of 91. He helped win the 1948 FA Cup and the Division One title in 1952, and was part of Matt Busby's back-room staff for United's 1968 European Cup final victory. (© Independent News Service)
Items in Moyes' in-tray
The entire make-up of United, from youth coaching staff to press secretary, are Alex Ferguson's. It may take years for new man to fully establish his own identity.
A settled defence
Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic are increasingly injury-prone and questions marks remain over the future of Patrice Evra.
Old problems don't dissolve. Paul Scholes has gone, again, and Ryan Giggs is entitled to feel his time is nigh. Anderson's is too. Moyes needs a blue-chip signing.
Moyes has never won a trophy. He needs early success to establish multi-title-winning players' full respect.