While Ferguson may actually have no material influence on how David Moyes views Rooney’s value to his squad, it is understood that the forward’s perception is that the former manager will be among the loudest voices at United, despite retiring as manager last season.
Although Moyes insists he wants the unsettled Rooney to stay at Old Trafford and is not for sale, the 27-year-old remains intent on leaving. Rooney’s relationship with Ferguson broke down during the final season of the Scot’s tenure, with the striker seeking a meeting towards the end of the campaign about his future. During the discussion, Rooney suggested that if he would continue to be played out of position and not be selected for United’s major games, he may seek a move.
Ferguson subsequently claimed that Rooney had made an official transfer request then, though United now accept this did not occur. However, with Ferguson having driven Moyes’s appointment – Sir Alex invited him to his house to break the news – and with the former manager now on United’s board, Rooney is of the opinion that this may adversely affect any hopes he had of re-establishing himself as a first-choice force at Old Trafford.
Moyes is clear that he wants to restore the forward to this status, despite Chelsea being expected to return with an improved bid after their initial £20m offer was rejected. Chelsea will test United’s resolve again in the coming days, with their manager, José Mourinho, admitting Rooney is their sole transfer target. However, United will not countenance a further approach, despite the apparent breakdown in relationship between the player and the club.
Rooney, who flew home on the opening day of United’s three-week tour of Asia with a hamstring injury, is back in training at Carrington and able to use the exercise bicycle, and Moyes’s view of him as integral to his plans is borne out by the manager’s wish to play him in United’s friendly against Sweden’s AIK Fotboll on 6 August.
By then Rooney will have had the benefit of a month to regain full fitness. As the hamstring problem is only minor and the striker was sent home as a precaution, there is confidence at the club that Rooney’s preparation fo
r the start of the new Premier League campaign, which begins at Swansea City on 17 August, will not be hampered.