Photo: Wayne Rooney
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson on Friday dismissed speculation by the British press that Wayne Rooney may leave the club after the end of this season, saying the star forward is not going anywhere.
“He will be here next year, you have my word on that,” the Scottish coach told reporters ahead of United’s FA Cup quarterfinal match Sunday against Chelsea.
Rumors started flying about a possible simmering feud between Ferguson and Rooney after the 27-year-old forward was surprisingly left on the bench for most of the English club’s Champions League match Tuesday at Old Trafford against Real Madrid.
The Spanish powerhouse’s 2-1 win gave them a 3-2 victory on aggregate and eliminated United from Europe’s premier club soccer tournament.
“There’s absolutely no issue between Wayne Rooney and I. To suggest we don’t talk on the training ground is absolute nonsense,” the 71-year-old Red Devils manager said, adding that the reasons for not starting the player, who came on as a substitute in the second half, were entirely “tactical.”
Ferguson chose 39-year-old Ryan Giggs to play on the right side of United’s midfield against Real Madrid, a position manned by Rooney in the teams’ round of 16 first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid on Feb. 13.
“He understood the reasons for not playing him were completely tactical and I think we were right. You don’t always get it right but I think we got it right,” Ferguson, who has been United’s manager for 26 years, said.
His remarks were aimed at quashing rumors about a possible transfer of Rooney this summer, but it remains unclear whether the player will renew his contract with the English club when it expires in 2015.