Rooney is 'not for sale' as Moyes ups the ante
New United manager sets unsettled striker target of breaking Charlton's goals record
DAVID MOYES has challenged Wayne Rooney to grasp the opportunity to become a Manchester United legend as he fights to keep the striker at Old Trafford.
Moyes was faced with a barrage of questions about Rooney's future as he was officially unveiled as Alex Ferguson's successor yesterday.
He insisted that the 27-year-old would not be sold, but could offer no guarantees as to whether Rooney wanted to remain at the club.
"It's a question on your lips but the fact is Wayne is not for sale. He is a Manchester United player and will remain a Manchester United player. Wayne won't be sold by Manchester United," said Moyes.
United's new manager employed the lobbying strategy which his newly appointed coach Ryan Giggs is also expected to try on Rooney when he used the press conference to remind the England striker publicly that he can make history and become United's all-time greatest goalscorer if he forgets his fascination with Chelsea and Jose Mourinho and stays.
"Wayne is only 50 goals behind Bobby Charlton and 40 behind Denis Law," Moyes said of the player who has scored 197 goals for United.
"We are working and trying everything to get Wayne to the level where everybody can benefit. I can tell you categorically Wayne is training fantastically well.
"We have spoken several times. Whatever happened before has gone now. We are working together now. I have seen a glint in his eye, he looks happy and looks as if he is going to knuckle down."
Pressed on whether Rooney wanted the club to refute claims he had asked to leave, Moyes said: "There was a private meeting between two people. I was not privy to it.
"That conversation was private and as far as I am concerned I'm looking forward to working with Wayne."
Chelsea are known to be ready to pounce for Rooney, and Moyes' remarks clearly put the onus on the striker to offer clarification about his intentions.
On the basis of the manager's comments, a Rooney commitment to remain at Old Trafford would end the impasse.
Moyes – who said he never discussed other clubs' players when asked if Cristiano Ronaldo was a transfer prospect – simply repeated "we are working" when pressed on whether Rooney had committed himself to Old Trafford.
Moyes, who is expected to table a new £15m bid for Everton's Leighton Baines and is also seeking to buy Barcelona's Thiago Alcantara, said he hoped to conclude a signing before the club go on tour next week.
"We will do everything we can to bring more players in. We would never speak about players at other football clubs. But this club is always interested in the best players," he said.
Moyes also revealed that Paul Scholes rejected a chance to join his back-room staff but he anticipated he would rejoin the club in the future.
"I spoke to Paul Scholes and he wanted more time with his family, but Ryan Giggs and Phil Neville have given me the connection with the club and young members of staff I wanted here." (© Daily Telegraph, London)