Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Moyes stands firm over Rooney

David Moyes, pictured, continues to stand firm on Wayne Rooney's future
David Moyes, pictured, continues to stand firm on Wayne Rooney's future

Manchester United manager David Moyes brushed off Jose Mourinho's declared admiration of Wayne Rooney by again insisting the striker was going nowhere.

The comment is not strictly true given Rooney has gone home, returning to Manchester with a hamstring injury after spending a matter of hours in Thailand ahead of United's tour opener. However, it is clear Moyes will not be moved from the mantra he has repeated on an almost daily basis. And not even Mourinho can change it.

"I don't think so," the Scot said, when asked if the Chelsea manager was being mischievous. "People are entitled to talk about good players. I am being asked plenty about Wayne so I am sure Jose will be getting asked about lots of players as well. It is hard to keep repeating myself - but I will do. Wayne is a Manchester United player and will remain that."

What Mourinho said, a few miles away from Chelsea's team hotel in Bangkok hours after their arrival, was typical of the man, retreating from a question initially before saying just enough to trigger a headline.

"I cannot speak about players from other teams," he said. "But you know me...I always say what I think and he is a player I like very much. I cannot say more than that. Being fast and direct, I like him very much. But he is a Manchester United player."

Rooney could clearly deal with the confusion himself by stating his own thoughts on his future. It is something within his power given the speed with which he underlined how disappointed he was to be leaving Thailand. But it has not happened. And until it does, the speculation will continue no matter what Moyes says.

"I have really covered all the things on Wayne," the United boss said. "You mustn't forget Manchester United is about a team, not any one individual. In lots of ways I am only interested in the team and some of the questions are reverting back to stuff I covered last week."

At least Moyes was able to deliver some positive news on Rooney's injury. Though the problem is evidently much worse than when it first surfaced at Carrington prior to departure on Wednesday, the United boss feels Rooney could be fit by the time his team-mates return home at the end of the month.

It seems skipper Nemanja Vidic is another who will play no part in the tour, even though United's initial response to his absence from their flight out of Manchester was to say the Serbia defender would eventually join up. Vidic is presently undergoing a series of injections to ease a problem with the sciatic nerve in his back.

And, at this stage, Moyes cannot be certain whether Portugal winger Nani will make it either. Moyes said: "Nani had an operation on his nose to clear a bit of breathing. At the moment we are not sure if flying is allowed. That is the one downside to it."

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