Thursday 25 April 2019

Rooney transfer U-turn as Moyes takes hot seat

Ian Herbert and Peter Jensen

Wayne Rooney is prepared to consider staying at Manchester United under David Moyes, who has been appointed manager of the club on a six-year deal.

However, having made his second request to leave in three years, he will find the odds stacked against him in his bid to win over supporters and Alex Ferguson's successor.

Rooney tried to repair the damage he had done when libelling Moyes in his 2006 autobiography by making a telephone apology to him four years ago and the player, who made a verbal request to leave United two weeks ago, is open-minded about the idea of working again with his old Everton manager.

The forward's desire for a fresh start has accrued from a problem with Ferguson, who has dropped him out of United's strike force, rather than with the club. Though Moyes will not take up his new position until July 1, the two are likely to talk almost immediately about Rooney, who has two years to run on his current contract.

It is understood Rooney would welcome the chance to talk with the manager who gave him his Premier League debut in 2002.

Though the prospect of Cristiano Ronaldo returning to United is another factor which might lift Rooney's spirits, the move seems unlikely, with the Portuguese understood to want a season free of Jose Mourinho at the Bernabeu before any possible dramatic return to Old Trafford.

When Ronaldo celebrated scoring his 200th goal for Real Madrid in 197 appearances on Wednesday, he thumped the club badge on his shirt, pointed to the pitch and appeared to shout: "I'm here, I'm here!"

There was also what appeared to be an insult directed at the home dug-out – and Mourinho.

Whether too much should be read into some mid-match passion from Ronaldo, and whether "I'm here" is the same as "I'm staying here" is debatable, but those close to the winger say he wants the opportunity next season to show that Real Madrid's recent success – three straight semi-final appearances in the Champions League following six seasons without getting beyond the last-16 – has been more about his contribution than his manager's.

The relationship with Mourinho has never matched the one he enjoyed with Ferguson, to whom Ronaldo paid tribute this week, saying "thanks for everything boss" after the Scot had retired.

United have no former players lined up to make an event of Sunday's emotional last home match for Ferguson (right) against Swansea City as there has not been time following the conclusion of discussions with Moyes, which resulted in the announcement of his appointment.

Ferguson said in that announcement that Moyes was "a man of great integrity with a strong work ethic. I've admired his work for a long time and approached him as far back as 1998 to discuss the position of assistant manager here. He was a young man at the start of his career and has since gone on to do a magnificent job at Everton."

Moyes was in contention to be United's assistant manager after Brian Kidd left.

Ferguson asked Les Kershaw (chief scout) and Eric Harrison (former youth coach) to put out feelers and find the best up-and-coming managerial talent in football.

After two months they recommended Steve McClaren (then deputy to Jim Smith at Derby), with Moyes as reserve. McClaren was known for being an even greater student than Kidd of foreign methods, so they went for him.

Ferguson was so convinced that McClaren was his man that there is not even a reference to Moyes in his autobiography, 'Managing My Life.'

(© Independent news Service)

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