Belfast Telegraph

Wayne Rooney: "I am staying at Manchester United"

Wayne Rooney has announced he is staying at Manchester United.

Momentum has been building over the 31-year-old's Old Trafford future, with the riches on offer in the Chinese Super League a tantalising prospect.

It is understood Rooney's agent Paul Stretford has been in China speaking to interested clubs - but the United and England captain has confirmed he is staying put.

In a statement released to Press Association Sport, Rooney said: "Despite the interest which has been shown from other clubs, for which I'm grateful, I want to end recent speculation and say that I am staying at Manchester United.

"I hope I will play a full part in helping the team in its fight for success on four fronts.

"It's an exciting time at the club and I want to remain a part of it."

This season's lack of game time had led the United skipper to consider his options, but the club's all-time top scorer has decided to stay and fight for his place.

A deal taking Rooney to China before their transfer window closed next week was always understood to be highly unlikely, with Beijing Guoan, Guangzhou Evergrande, Jiangsu Suning and Tianjin Quanjian reported to be among the interested parties in the CSL.

Talk about Rooney's future has dominated the agenda this week, especially after United boss Jose Mourinho fuelled speculation rather than extinguish it.

"You'll have to ask him," Mourinho said in Tuesday's press conference ahead of the Europa League match in St Etienne when asked about Rooney's future. "You have to ask him.

"Of course I can't guarantee (he will be here). I can't guarantee that I'm here next week, how can I guarantee that a player is here next season?

"What I can guarantee is that if Wayne one day leaves the club it is not because I want him to leave the club. That's the only thing I can guarantee.

"I would never push - or try to push - a legend of this club to another destiny.

"So you have to ask him if he sees himself staying in the club for the rest of his career or if he sees himself moving.

"It is not a question for me because I am happy to have him."

Pushed on whether it was possible Rooney could leave in the next week, Mourinho retorted: "You have to ask him, not me.

"I was very open with you in the answer. I don't want him to leave."

Mourinho has got his wish - for the rest of the season at least - as United push for a top-four finish, as well as Europa League, FA Cup and EFL Cup glory.

Whether Rooney is fit enough to be involved in Sunday's EFL Cup final against Southampton remains to be seen, while questions will continue to linger over the player's long-term future.

China will continue to remain an option, albeit one which may well bring his England career to an abrupt end.

The country's all-time top scorer has won 119 caps and is closing in on Peter Shilton's record of 125 appearances.

Rooney has already announced plans to retire from international football after the next year's World Cup in Russia.

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