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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

Football

Rooney's future is David Moyes' first challenge
AFP
London, May 10, 2013
First Published: 18:45 IST(10/5/2013)
Last Updated: 18:47 IST(10/5/2013)

David Moyes' first challenge when he takes over the Manchester United hotseat from Alex Ferguson will be to decide the future of England striker Wayne Rooney.

It was Moyes who brought Rooney through at Everton aged just 16, but their relationship deteriorated after he was sold to United in 2004.

Having already shocked United fans in 2010 by handing in a transfer request which alerted cross-city rivals Manchester City before he performed a U-turn, Rooney's long-term future is again in doubt.

Even as Moyes was Thursday officially named United boss, succeeding Ferguson after the latter's 26-year stint in the most demanding post in British club football, it emerged that Rooney had asked to leave two weeks ago.

Rooney is understood to have told Ferguson last month he wanted a new challenge before he knew the Scotsman was about to step down.

United have insisted he is not for sale, notwithstanding media claims that offers topping 20 million pounds (31 million dollars) would be considered.

Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and City are all potential suitors for Rooney, with the Qatari-backed French club probably best-placed to meet his £250,000 ($385,000) weekly salary.

Rooney still has two years to run on the contract he secured after his initial flirt with City.

The striker's position at United has fallen under scrutiny in recent weeks after he was left on the bench as United were eliminated from the Champions League by Real Madrid.

The Daily Telegraph and The Times newspapers both focused on Rooney's apparent recent restlessness, suggesting Rooney faces a struggle to win over both the fans and Moyes after showing his hand and apparent readiness to consider a new challenge.

Rooney has re-established his relationship with one-time mentor Moyes, who won damages in a libel case after the striker made disparaging comments about the latter in his 2006 autobiography.

The England forward later apologised and rebuilt a relationship already strained by Rooney's move to United from Goodison Park.

Having been unanimously chosen for the Old Trafford post with Ferguson's public blessing, Moyes can operate from a position of strength.

But news of his renewed thoughts about a change of scene will not have gone unnoticed by fans - or Moyes, who last season described his former teenage hothead prodigy as "a little older and wiser."


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