Tuesday 26 March 2019

Irwin: I'm sure Rooney will stay

Irish United legend agrees with Moyes' stance that 'angry' striker is not for sale

David Moyes. Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
David Moyes. Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
(L-R) Dennis Irwin, Andy Cole and Bryan Robson arrive for the official Manchester United official lunch at Westin Hotel on July 18, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
Wayne Rooney. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

DENIS IRWIN is happy to be guided by David Moyes' unequivocal statement that Wayne Rooney is going nowhere.

The subject of Rooney has dominated Moyes' entire Manchester United reign so far.

From rumblings of discontent about Alex Ferguson's claim he had handed in a transfer request, to the hamstring injury that forced Rooney out of United's pre-season tour less than 24 hours after he arrived in Thailand, to the player's negative reaction to Moyes' statement about his place in the pecking order, to the complete rejection of Chelsea's bid, England's talisman has been the centre of attention.

It does appear Rooney's position at Old Trafford is close to untenable.

Yet United are adamant they will not sell and would be willing to wind down the contract which still has two years to run if necessary.

And Irwin is happy to take Moyes at his word.

"Wayne is a fantastic player," said the former Republic of Ireland full-back.

"He has been great in the years he has been at the club and has scored a stack of goals for us. David Moyes is the manager. He makes the decisions.

"He has said Wayne Rooney is going nowhere. That is good enough for me."

Whether United can hold that position remains to be seen, with neither player nor club showing any sign of buckling from their present position. Beyond that, the sudden departure of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward on urgent transfer business has triggered fevered speculation about who it could concern.

Cesc Fabregas, Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines have all been mentioned.

Yet, as those targets have been discussed for some time now, and as Woodward was due to return to the UK on Sunday anyway, it would suggest something more significant.

That would give credence to reports that a big-money move for Tottenham's Gareth Bale is imminent, although, as yet, United have refused to discuss the matter.

Irwin concedes such speculation is normal at a club the size of United.

And he does not believe the players, currently being pushed through one of the toughest parts of their pre-season training regime, will be affected. "There will always be loads of speculation at this time of the season, whether it is in your position or someone else's," said Irwin.

"It is part and parcel of being a footballer at a top club.



"My thoughts were just to get my head down and work as hard as possible because you want to get a good pre-season under your belt.

"David Moyes has said Wayne Rooney is not going anywhere and there will always be talk about who United are bringing in. The players will just ignore it really."

If nothing else, it has provided Moyes with a baptism about what to expect from his new role after 11 years at Everton. With supporters outside United's hotel at all hours of the day, Moyes admits himself it is a somewhat different situation to the one he had on Merseyside.

Moyes also insisted Rooney is not for sale – and expressed his hope that new blood will be injected into the squad soon.

"The club's position has not changed," said Moyes, who has repeatedly stressed Rooney is not for sale.

Rooney is evidently a subject United feel uncomfortable discussing at present, but they are on safer ground when it comes to the potential for new faces arriving at Old Trafford.

Chief among their targets is Barcelona's former Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who was the subject of a formal offer earlier this week.

"I couldn't tell you exactly," said Moyes, when asked what the latest position is.

"The chief executive is dealing with it. Hopefully know more in the next few days."

Much has been made of the fact United are yet to sign any player of note since Moyes' arrival.

They have already missed out on Thiago Alcantara, but continue to be linked with Everton pair Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines, in addition to a swoop for Tottenham's Gareth Bale, who it is said would cost upwards of £60million.

"As far as players we are looking to bring in are concerned, we are working hard to do that," Moyes said.

"We are trying very hard to make some additions.

"Hopefully there will be some good news in the not too distant future."

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