Ferguson quashes rumours of Rooney leaving Man United
United boss dismisses talk the England striker may leave Old Trafford at the end of the season after starting on the bench against Real Madrid
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson yesterday dismissed suggestions Wayne Rooney could leave the club in the summer after being left out against Real Madrid in midweek.
Ferguson preferred Danny Welbeck to Rooney, 27, for the Champions League last-16 second leg at Old Trafford, and Rooney only made it on to the field as a late substitute in the 2-1 defeat.
The United manager commented before the match that Rooney "needs games" and the England striker's omission led to questions over his United future. But Ferguson moved to quash any suggestion Rooney will be departing, and insists the striker understood his reasons for selecting Welbeck to block the influence of Real's Xabi Alonso.
He also categorically insisted that Rooney will be at Old Trafford next season and will feature in the FA Cup quarter-final against Chelsea tomorrow.
Ferguson said: "There's absolutely no problem. He will be here next year, you have my word on that. There are no issues at all with the player. He'll be involved on Sunday, no doubt about that.
"There's absolutely no issue between Wayne Rooney and I. To suggest we don't talk on the training ground is absolute nonsense, and he understood the reasons for not playing him were completely tactical, and I think we were right," he added.
"You don't always get it right, but I think we got it right. Welbeck is the best player we have in terms of operating in a double role," he said. "We had to stop Alonso's ability to control the game, which [Welbeck] did, and it took away his control of the match and ability to … be an attacking player."
Meanwhile, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini rejected speculation linking the club with a move for Rooney.
City were interested in the England forward when he looked set to leave Old Trafford in 2010. But Mancini played down any suggestion he could renew their pursuit of the striker.
"I don't know. I don't know this situation," the Italian said. "I can understand Rooney would be upset if he didn't play, but these are things that can happen in every team. After one week, [it] is finished.
"I think that Rooney is one of the best strikers in Europe, but I think it is difficult he can leave Man United."
Ferguson was too angry to attend the post-match media conference after Nani was sent off against Real Madrid, and added: "On the issue of the referee, quite simply it's hard to keep your faith in the game when we see what's happened in the last few years.
"It's the third time we've been knocked out [of the Champions League] by a referee's decision," he added. "It's not easy to take, but in the cold analysis, you realise we're Manchester United and we just have to get on with it."