London – Wayne Rooney is expected to meet David Moyes for talks over his future as early as next week – and last night Manchester United’s new manager described the striker as “one of the best players in the world”.
Rooney’s Old Trafford career is up in the air after he told Sir Alex Ferguson two weeks ago that he would like to leave Old Trafford.
Ferguson did not even include Rooney in his squad for Sunday’s victory over Swansea and there had been no thaw in relations on Monday judging by the body language at the open-top bus parade to celebrate United’s championship success.
Moyes does not officially succeed Ferguson at United until July 1 but it is understood he will start attending to business next week.
And he told the Cambridge Union last night: “Wayne Rooney is an incredible player. If you are an England supporter, you are thinking what a great player you have.”
Asked about his experiences managing Paul Gascoigne and now inheriting another wonderful player who is difficult to handle, Moyes said: “I hope I may have matured a little bit since I was dealing with Paul Gascoigne and be able to deal with that kind of situation a bit better. It’s great working with the big players.”
Ferguson suggested on Sunday that Rooney had not been in the right frame of mind to play but the forward told friends after the game that his issue is with Ferguson rather than United and he will tell Moyes he wants to stay if he can be assured of starting afresh.
Moyes – who managed Rooney at Everton – had his own issues with the forward in the past and could be tempted to sell, with Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Paris St-Germain all interested.
At Monday’s parade through Manchester, Ferguson sat towards the back of the bus with chief executive David Gill. Rooney could not have been further away at the very front.
The 27-year-old once again received a mixed reception from 20,000 supporters who had gathered around Old Trafford, many booing him when he boarded the bus and appeared on the top deck.
While Rio Ferdinand took the microphone and led the singing as other players danced around him, a subdued Rooney stayed low in his seat, hidden under a cap.
Moyes’s appointment by United was on Monday slammed by former Wales assistant manager Raymond Verheijen.
The Dutchman tweeted: “The dinosaur of all dinosaurs get a 6 year (!) contract to manage one of the biggest clubs in the world. Only possible in Jurassic Park. Good luck!(sic)”
Everton star Phil Neville responded: “* jealous raymond?? who r * coaching pre season raymond Azerbaijan under 11’s?” – Daily Mail