Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Rooney tight-lipped on future

Wayne Rooney is still being linked with a move to Chelsea

Wayne Rooney refused to be drawn on the speculation surrounding his future as he spoke publicly for the first time since he was linked with a move to Chelsea.

Rooney was introduced as a 60th-minute substitute on Saturday as David Moyes' reign as Manchester United manager began with a resounding 4-1 win at Swansea.

Moyes has spent the majority of the summer insisting that Rooney is not for sale after Chelsea made two bids for the 27-year-old, who did not feature in pre-season.

United say Rooney has been unable to play because of injuries to his hamstring, and then to his shoulder, but the former Everton man was deemed fit enough to play 65 minutes of England's 3-2 win over Scotland on Wednesday night.

Such has been the furore caused by Rooney's spat with Sir Alex Ferguson towards the end of last season, and Chelsea's interest in him, that the striker has not spoken in public since his former manager dropped him in May.

But he would not comment on the matter following Wednesday's game against the Scots.

"I am here to talk about England," Rooney said when questioned about speculation regarding his future.

Rooney was more forthcoming about his desire to get some playing time under his belt.

Rooney had to come home from the club's tour of Asia after a hamstring strain last month and he then suffered a shoulder injury playing in an unofficial friendly against Real Betis a fortnight ago.

The 27-year-old trained with the United reserves - at his own request - in order to boost his fitness ahead of the Scotland game and he has been frustrated by his injury situation.

"You are always looking forward to a good pre-season, it's important you do that, but I had the injury to my hamstring and the injury to my shoulder so it's disappointing, but I've had to deal with it and I have been working hard to try to get myself fit again," Rooney added.

"I've missed pre-season with a couple of injuries but I played a few minutes (against Scotland) and hopefully I can kick on now."

Given United's inactivity in the transfer market this summer, Moyes is determined to hang on to Rooney and even another bid from Chelsea may not be enough to persuade United's new manager to part with the forward he helped mould in to a star at Everton.

But it is not just United who need Rooney - England want him fully match fit too.

Roy Hodgson's men had to twice come from behind to beat Scotland on Wednesday, and they will have to be at their best if they are to record two vital wins over Moldova and Ukraine in just over two weeks' time.

"I'm lacking that sharpness but hopefully that will come with a few matches under my belt," he said,

"I think it's important that I play. Hopefully I can get them games in and that will obviously make it better for the World Cup qualifiers coming up."

Montenegro are two points clear of England at the top of Group H, but even though the Three Lions have a match in hand, Ukraine are also threatening Hodgson's men after their 4-0 win in Podgorica in June.

Rooney, who scored for England against Brazil in the Maracana earlier this summer, is desperate to go back to Rio for the World Cup.

"It's massively important we qualify," he added.

"We are in a good position. We have four games left and we have the players to do it so hopefully we can get there."

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