Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Irwin takes Moyes' word over Rooney

Wayne Rooney's future continues to be scrutinised

Denis Irwin is happy to be guided by David Moyes' unequivocal statement that Wayne Rooney is going nowhere.

The subject of Rooney has dominated Moyes' entire Manchester United reign so far.

From rumblings of discontent about Sir Alex Ferguson's claim he had handed in a transfer request, to the hamstring injury that forced Rooney out of United's pre-season tour, beyond that the player's negative reaction to Moyes' statement about his place in the pecking order to the complete rejection of Chelsea's bid, England's talisman has been the centre of attention.

It does appear Rooney's position at Old Trafford is close to untenable. Yet United are adamant they will not sell and would be willing to wind down the contract which still has two years to run if necessary. And Irwin is happy to take Moyes at his word.

"Wayne is a fantastic player," said the former Republic of Ireland full-back. "He has been great in the years he has been at the club and has scored a stack of goals for us. David Moyes is the manager. He makes the decisions. He has said Wayne Rooney is going nowhere. That is good enough for me."

Whether United can hold that position remains to be seen, with neither player nor club showing any sign of buckling from their present position.

Beyond that, the sudden departure of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward on urgent transfer business has triggered fevered speculation about who it could concern. Cesc Fabregas, Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines have all been mentioned.

Yet, as those targets have been discussed for some time now, and Woodward was due to return to the UK on Sunday anyway, it would suggest something more significant. That would give credence to reports that a big-money move for Tottenham's Gareth Bale is imminent, although, as yet, United have refused to discuss the matter.

Irwin concedes such speculation is normal at a club the size of United. And he does not believe the players, currently being pushed through one of the toughest parts of their pre-season training regime, will be affected.

"There will always be loads of speculation at this time of the season, whether it is in your position or someone else's," said Irwin.

"It is part and parcel of being a footballer at a top club. My thoughts were just to get my head down and work as hard as possible because you want to get a good pre-season under your belt.

"David Moyes has said Wayne Rooney is not going anywhere and there will always be talk about who United are bringing in. The players will just ignore it really."

If nothing else, it has provided Moyes with a baptism about what to expect from his new role after 11 years at Everton. With supporters outside United's hotel at all hours of the day, Moyes admits himself it is a somewhat different situation to the one he had on Merseyside.

"I have been overwhelmed already," said Moyes. "We dropped into Thailand on the way to Sydney and everywhere you go with Manchester United, everyone wants to meet the players."

And that, clearly, is just the start. Even at an exclusive business lunch he attended in central Sydney, it was hammered home to Moyes just what a massive task he was given when Ferguson summoned him to his house and informed him he was to be the next United manager.

For prior to answering admittedly less taxing questions about his job, Moyes watched a montage of United's performances last season, which ended with them winning the Premier League title with four games to spare and by an eventual margin of 11 points.

"It was the first time I had seen those clips myself and I thought 'wow'," said Moyes. "I was very fortunate to get a great grounding at Everton. But I have now come to the biggest club in the world. Sir Alex (Ferguson) has left me a winning team. I am taking over the champions of England.

"The job now is to try and do what you saw in all those clips. The history of this football club is incredible. I have a great chance to build on that and try and get a little bit more over the coming seasons."

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