Thursday 14 December 2017

You don't match my ambitions Fergie

Ian Herbert

Wayne Rooney delivered a clinical response to his manager last night, conveying in the course of a statement confirming his desire to leave Manchester United the most credible argument available to him: that the club's ambitions do not match his own.

Rooney's fears that United are financially unable to spend in a way that can maintain their place among the elite has been one of the fundamental reasons why he has refused to sign a new £150,000-a-week contract, and after allowing that message to be clouded by questions about his manager, he finally made that point yesterday.

"I met with (chief executive) David Gill last week and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad," Rooney said.

In a 230-word statement, which drives Rooney another step closer to the Old Trafford exit, the 24-year-old directly questioned the accuracy -- and honesty -- of Alex Ferguson's account on Tuesday of events leading to the player's seemingly inevitable departure.

While Ferguson said he was "dumbfounded" to find that Rooney's mind was set on August 14, when Gill was informed of the decision by the player's agent Paul Stretford, Rooney's account of a meeting with Gill only last week suggests he had given United longer to convince him of their ambitions.

Rooney stated there had been "a number of meetings" since August, when he had pressed the same concerns.

The striker's statement alludes to his "recent difficulties" with Ferguson -- also contradicting the manager's claim that there had been no personal problems between them.

But by subtly linking Ferguson's inevitable retirement to his concerns about the future, Rooney reinforced his own case. "For Manchester United's sake, I wish he could go on forever because he's a one-off and a genius," he said of Ferguson. Rooney's future should become clearer today after his current manager said he expected to "put to bed" the furore within the next 24 hours.

Speaking after their 1-0 victory in last night's Champions League clash with Bursaspor, Ferguson said: "I've not read it all (the statement). I've seen bits on TV -- we'll have a view of it tomorrow (today) and see where we go from there.

"We'll probably put it to bed tomorrow. The door is open, we're that kind of club that we want to keep good players, particularly when they're as good as that."

Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson's indifferent response last night to suggestions that Ferguson may come calling for Fernando Torres -- "these things happen. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it," he said -- will reinforce United's belief that their initial inquiries about the Spanish striker may yet bear fruit. (© Independent News Service)

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