New Manchester United manager David Moyes was adamant that striker Wayne Rooney was not for sale but stopped short of saying the player had changed his mind about wanting to leave.
The issue dominated the Scot’s first news conference since he took over from the retired Alex Ferguson. His predecessor said in May that the England international had asked for a transfer.
Moyes said he spoke to Rooney and the fact is that the striker is not for sale.
He said further that Rooney is Manchester United player and he will remain so and he is looking forward to work with the player who has been responding well to training and back in good shape.
Moyes was repeatedly asked about Rooney, including direct questions such as: “Has he told you he would like to stay at Manchester United?” but each time failed to give a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.
He said the club is working on the player to improve his goal scoring ability for the club, so as for him to begin to score goals that will challenge in the goal chart in English football history.
Rooney has scored 197 goals in 402 United appearances, winning five Premier League titles, the Champions League in 2008 and two League Cups.
Charlton holds the club’s all-time record of 249 with Law second on 237.
Moyes’s answers will have done little to extinguish the media speculation over the future of Rooney who suffered a dip in form following the arrival of Robin van Persie as United’s leading striker last season.
Often played out wide or in midfield, Rooney was left out of the United team for their biggest match of the season – the Champions League last-16 second-leg defeat by Real Madrid in March.
Rooney is no stranger to Moyes, with the striker having begun his career at Everton under the Scot.
The two then fell out over an account in one of the player’s autobiographies about how he came to join United.
Meanwhile United captain Nemanja Vidic has given an insight into the first few days at the club under Moyes.
He told reporters the players have returned in good spirits and ready to work with the new manager.