New Manchester United manager David Moyes was adamant yesterday that striker Wayne Rooney was not for sale but stopped short of saying the player had changed his mind about wanting to leave.
The issue dominated the Scot’s first news conference since he took over from the retired Sir Alex Ferguson. His predecessor said in May that the England international had asked for a transfer.
“I’ve had a chance to speak to Wayne ... the fact of the matter is Wayne is not for sale,” Moyes said at Old Trafford.
“He is a Manchester United player and will remain a Manchester United player. I’ve known Wayne since he was 16 ... he’s training very well, he’s come back in good shape and I really look forward to working with him.”
Moyes was repeatedly asked about Rooney, including direct questions such as: “Has he told you he would like to stay at Manchester United?” but each time failed to give a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.
“What we are doing at the moment is we are looking to see how we can get Wayne Rooney getting those goals which are going to challenge the likes of Bobby Charlton and Denis Law’s [total] number,” said Moyes. “As far as I’m concerned, the way he’s working I’m more than happy to work with him and make sure we get success.”
Rooney has scored 197 goals in 402 United appearances, winning five Premier League titles, the Champions League in 2008 and two League Cups. Charlton holds the club’s all-time record of 249 with Law second on 237.
Moyes’s answers will have done little to extinguish the media speculation over the future of Rooney who suffered a dip in form following the arrival of Robin van Persie and was left out of the United team for their biggest match of the season – the Champions League last-16 second-leg defeat by Real Madrid in March.
Rooney is no stranger to Moyes, with the striker having begun his career at Everton under the Scot. The two then fell out over an account in one of the player’s autobiographies about how he came to join United.