Wayne Rooney will still be at Manchester United next season despite his benching for a Champions League match this week, manager Alex Ferguson said.
Rooney wasn’t in the starting lineup for United’s game with Real Madrid three days ago, leading to U.K. media speculation about the striker’s future at the Premier League club. Ferguson denied those rumors at his press conference today ahead of this weekend’s F.A. Cup quarterfinal match against Chelsea.
“Wayne will be here next year,” he said. “You have my word on it. I have no issues at all with the player and he’ll be involved on Sunday.”
Ferguson didn’t say whether Rooney would start the match at Old Trafford.
The Daily Mirror reported yesterday that Ferguson was preparing to sell Rooney at the end of the season for 35 million pounds ($52.6 million). The Telegraph said that the fractured relationship between the two men could see Rooney moved for as little as 20 million pounds.
“The issue you’re all going on about in the papers is absolute rubbish,” Ferguson said. “To suggest we don’t talk to each other on the training ground is absolute nonsense.”
Ferguson reiterated his stance that Rooney’s benching was purely tactical. He had said in interview before the Real match, where United was eliminated by a 2-1 loss, that Danny Welbeck was starting because he was a better fit going against Real playmaker Xabi Alonso.
“Danny Welbeck is the best player we have in terms of operating in a double role,” Ferguson said. “We had to choke Xabi Alonso’s ability to control the game, which Danny did, and that took away Alonso’s control of the game and his ability to go further forward and be an attacking player. We don’t always get it right but we definitely did on Tuesday.”
Ferguson also remains upset over the red card given to midfielder Nani by Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir. The sending off turned the contest as Real scored both of its goals with the man advantage.
“It’s hard to keep your faith in the game when you see things like that,” Ferguson, who didn’t speak with the media after the match, said today.
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