Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Arsene Wenger surprised by Wayne Rooney's Manchester United u-turn

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was surprised to hear Wayne Rooney had agreed a new deal with Manchester United, expecting to see the England striker sold.

Rooney today agreed a new five-year contract, having earlier in the week claimed the Old Trafford club no longer matched his ambitions.

Gunners boss Wenger felt all the indications were Rooney would move on when the transfer window opened again in January.

"Once the club came out and said that they couldn't find an agreement it was a message that they wanted to sell," Wenger said.

"Certainly Rooney has got the guarantees he wanted - you can translate that like you want, but that's it."

The Arsenal manager, however, could not understand what all the fuss had been about.

"It was just a story that for me, from the start to the end, was of no interest to me. When I saw the headlines I just turned the page," Wenger said.

"I was never really interested in that story because what happened with Wayne Rooney happens to every club, every year - plenty of times.

"Just because he has a different name it was certainly a story, but it is a super-classical story which happens in every club, every week, so I could never understand what was really special in this case."

Former Manchester United midfielder Lou Macari feels Rooney will have to work hard to rebuild relationships with his team-mates.

"I'm shocked. Nothing's shocked me more in football than this week," Macari told Sky Sports News.

"I thought this week leading up to today was enough but I just couldn't believe it when I got the news today what had happened."

Macari continued: "His statement was undermining the players, was undermining the manager.

"Saying that the manager's got no ambition and the clubs got no ambition and all that. You're pointing the finger at everyone at Manchester United, not just the owners in America who probably that finger was being pointed at.

"So there's a bit of rebuilding to be done .

"I think supporters hold the key to how well Wayne does in the future, whether they're going to forgive him and accept him back."

Former United winger Mickey Thomas does not think it will take the fans long to forgive Rooney.

"I think they're going to be absolutely delighted," he said. "They want him back on that pitch scoring goals. It'll be all forgotten."

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed Rooney has apologised to him and the players and former United player Clayton Blackmore felt such action had to be taken.

He said: "He came out with a few things, saying the squad wasn't good enough and the ambition wasn't there. But the ambition's always there.

"I think he knew he had to apologise and I think everything will be swept under the carpet now and carry on where we left off about a month ago, before it all started."

Blackmore claimed the episode showed how influential Ferguson is.

"It think it just shows how strong and how powerful the manager is," he said.

The former Wales international added: "Things like this, when it looks like we've lost him and things have gone too far, now they've gone back together, it could work even better for us.

"Wayne could end up being an even better player, you just don't know."

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