Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Wayne Rooney: Yes, I AM happy at Manchester United

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney acknowledges the fans after the final whistle of the UEFA Champions League Group A match against Real Sociedad at Old Trafford, Manchester

Wayne Rooney is cetainly not lamenting the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson after insisting he had a new lease of life now the Scot was no longer in charge of Manchester United.

Ferguson was not that complimentary about Rooney in his new autobiography especially over what he perceived to be the striker's loss of form towards the end of his managerial reign.

 

However, Rooney was blunt in his assessment after last night's game: "The new coaches have come in and it feels like a new lease of life," he declared.

 

As for the saga over whether Rooney did or did not make a written transfer request at the end of last season, the player was happy that Ferguson's book made clear it was only a verbal request.

 

The situation was a source of relentless speculation over the summer after Ferguson implied that the forward had made the transfer request.

 

But Rooney feels Ferguson has put the record straight. "He's got his own opinion," the striker said when asked about Ferguson's comments. "All along I've not really said anything about it and thankfully he's come back and corrected the story that I put a transfer request in.

 

"He's gone back and proved that I haven't, so I'm thankful to him for that."

 

Rooney also revealed that he has not seen the former United boss, now a director at the club, since he stepped down to make way for David Moyes over the summer.

 

"No not at all [it's not difficult he's a director]. I haven't seen him since he retired," he continued.

 

"I'm happy under the new management and we're working to get results under David Moyes and his coaching staff – that's the main thing for me. The other stuff doesn't concern me.

 

"I'm just happy playing my football at the minute. That's the past, I'm looking to the future.

 

Rooney's was the only name that was really worthy of being sung by an Old Trafford crowd which now has the recently introduced "special singing area", an attempt to improve the atmosphere at the ground.

 

Only in terms of a goal was the England striker found wanting. While Ferguson was less than enamoured by Rooney towards the end of his managerial reign, his successor David Moyes will point to the kind of compellingly committed performances the striker delivered.

 

Curiously, given the fact that he has given his name to a stand, a road and has a statue at Old Trafford, Ferguson was someone the crowd very rarely sang about during the quarter of a century in which he transformed the club.

 

You wonder how many songs will be sung about the men who beat Real Sociedad a good deal less convincingly than seemed likely when Inigo Martinez put through his own net after a couple of minutes.

 

But however edgily entertaining the match might have been, it was won, and realistically United now require three points from as many matches to reach the knockout stages. Given the strength of the group – not since 2007 have United had a tougher passage – that is a significant achievement.

 

There have been some cracks; United were loose in both seconds halves against Shakhtar Donetsk and Real Sociedad. However, it would be hard to imagine that Ferguson would have done much better.

 

If he bequeathed Moyes the champions of England, he most certainly did not give him a side capable of winning the European Cup. It is four years since they overcame one of the big beasts of the Champions League and Moyes was being unusually honest when he remarked at the start of the campaign that United required six high-class footballers to reach levels of Bayern Munich or Barcelona.

 

However, as Ferguson remarked in another of his books – A Year in the Life – a football manager should be forever an optimist. Or put another way, he should be careful of telling the truth when there are microphones around.

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