Belfast Telegraph

Rooney happy to be in England fold

Wayne Rooney has thanked Roy Hodgson for his faith in picking him for England.

Rooney is yet to figure in a pre-season game for Manchester United due to hamstring and shoulder problems and was again missing for Rio Ferdinand's testimonial at Old Trafford.

Yet that doesn't really tell the story of Rooney's summer, with the player apparently wanting to leave United for Chelsea, who have already had two bids turned down for the 27-year-old.

The uncertainty and lack of obvious match fitness has not prevented Hodgson from selecting Rooney for Wednesday's high-profile friendly with Scotland at Wembley though.

Hodgson insisted he had spoken to both the player and his manager David Moyes before confirming his squad.

And Rooney has acknowledged his inclusion on his official Facebook page.

"Can't wait to join up with the England squad and hopefully play in a competitive match, they always are against Scotland," said Rooney.

"Big thanks to Roy Hodgson for selecting me and showing his faith and support, appreciate it."

As there are some who believe Rooney has been fit enough to play some part in United's pre-season campaign, which has so far yielded just two victories, the comments could be interpreted as having additional meaning.

Yet United have remained insistent that Rooney is going nowhere, with former captain Bryan Robson branding Chelsea's latest £25million bid for Rooney "an insult".

As a global ambassador for the Old Trafford outfit, Robson remains close to United affairs and travelled with Moyes' squad throughout their recent tour of the Far East and Australia.

Robson is acutely aware of the club's stance and, in a summer where Real Madrid are apparently willing to offer mega-money to secure the services of Gareth Bale and Arsenal have bid in excess of £40million for Luis Suarez, Robson feels Chelsea's valuation of Rooney - who still has two years remaining on his contract - is ludicrously low.

"The thing that makes me laugh is I've been told it [the latest bid] is £25million to £30million. For Wayne Rooney? A 27-year-old who is probably in the top six strikers in the world?" Robson told TalkSPORT.

"What are United going to have to pay to replace him? I'm amazed at that. I think it is an insult to Wayne Rooney."

With Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck, Shinji Kagawa and, most obviously, Golden Boot winner Robin van Persie in his squad, Moyes clearly has attacking alternatives.

Yet there is no doubt though that, having failed to secure the services of Cesc Fabregas, losing Rooney would increase the pressure on new manager David Moyes and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who has endured a difficult first summer since replacing David Gill as the man responsible for completing transfer deals.

Yet it does seem the England forward is happy to call time on his stay at Old Trafford.

Rooney's major concern appears to centre around Sir Alex Ferguson's continued presence in the United hierarchy and the influence he will be able to exert given he selected Moyes as his successor.

Given the relationship between Rooney and Ferguson broke down completely, to the extent the Scot went public with a claim his forward wanted to leave.

As it transpired, the 27-year-old merely aired the possibility as part of what he thought was a private chat.

What Rooney views as conduct beyond acceptable boundaries from Ferguson has not been checked publicly and is highly unlikely to be so given the status of the former United boss.

However, Robson insists the situation is not irretrievable.

"I don't know what's in the head of Wayne and his agent - why he wants to leave," he said.

"I know he had loggerheads with Sir Alex but David Moyes is the manager now.

"To me it is so important for him to concentrate on his football this season.

"I don't know what he sees - the grass is greener on the other side - the fans love him, the players love him so I don't see what the unsettlement is.

"Everyone would like to see Wayne Rooney settle down and be part of the team to try to retain the title."


From Belfast Telegraph