Manchester United manager David Moyes has confirmed once more that Wayne Rooney is not for sale – and said the striker is on track to make his comeback in Sweden next month.
United have already turned down one bid from Chelsea for Rooney, although it is expected Jose Mourinho will be back with another long before the transfer window closes.
Rooney did not do much to dampen down speculation over his future by heading to the south east for a round of golf at an exclusive course close to the Chelsea training ground at the weekend.
United’s stance regarding the 27-year-old has not changed, though. And with treatment on the hamstring injury that forced him out of United’s pre-season tour less than 24 hours after his arrival in Thailand almost a fortnight ago having the desired effect, the expectation remains that Rooney will be in Stockholm for the friendly against AIK Solna on 6 August.
“We have said and the club have said he is not for sale. That has not changed,” said Moyes after yesterday’s 3-2 friendly defeat by a Yokohama F Marinos side which included the former Celtic playmaker Shunsuke Nakamura. Moyes added: “I do expect Wayne to be in Stockholm. As far as I know he is coming on.
“He has started light jogging and the feedback from the physios is that he is progressing, so hopefully those dates will still be right when we get back.”
United could have done with Rooney today as Moyes cited a failure to take chances as the major reason why his side slumped to a defeat by local J League side Yokohama F Marinos, their second loss in three tour games so far.
Behind after just 27 seconds, United bounced back through Jesse Lingard’s third goal of the tour and a Masakazu Tashiro own goal.
But they were unable to build on their advantage and with Danny Welbeck and local hero Shinji Kagawa spurning excellent opportunities, United were eventually picked off, with Yoshihito Fujita bagging the winner three minutes from the end of the match.
“I am disappointed with the goals we conceded,” said Moyes. “We had a lot of opportunities to finish the game off at 2-1 and even after that had chances which we didn’t take.
“But the biggest thing about tonight was the effort the players had to put in.
“We tried to get as many of them through 90 minutes as we could and they worked really hard. Some of them did very well and I am pleased with that.”
Moyes confirmed Rio Ferdinand has been rested after featuring in both pre-season games so far, while Michael Carrick was still feeling the effects of a tight groin, which forced him out of training on Monday.
And he played down concerns over Robin van Persie, who came off at half-time, and Welbeck.
“Robin just felt his thigh in the first half and we didn’t want to take any chances,” he said. “Danny Welbeck felt his groin when he came on and we’ve just got to make sure they’re all okay especially with so many games coming up. We’ve still got a few games to play before the season starts when we get back home.”
Kagawa got half an hour under his belt though, despite only reporting for duty on Monday. It was enough to earn him man-of-the-match honours from the sponsors, although even Kagawa was wearing an embarrassed look as he collected his prize.
“It was the first time I got a chance to see Shinji play,” said Moyes. “He had a great chance to score when the ’keeper made a save and Ashley Young had a chance to roll him in as well.
“If he had got one of them, the man-of-the-match award might be truly justified.”