Tuesday 21 November 2017

Rooney aims to stay at United for next season

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney speaks during a press conference ahead of tonight’s clash. Photo: Jason Cairnduff/Reuters
Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney speaks during a press conference ahead of tonight’s clash. Photo: Jason Cairnduff/Reuters

Wayne Rooney wants to stay at Manchester United, even if the lack of game-time is grating on the club's all-time top scorer.

For so long a key player for the club, this season the 31-year-old has found himself in the unusual position of scrapping for a starting role.

Rooney has made just 22 United starts across the competitions and continuing questions over his viability at the top level have fuelled talk that his future lies away from Old Trafford.

The skipper committed his immediate future to United in February amid interest from China, saying he wanted to remain at the club during this "exciting time" - a period that could soon bring Europa League glory.

Rooney spoke of his desire to win the competition on the eve of the semi-final second leg against Celta Vigo, although his future rather than the tie formed the main line of questioning in the press conference. "Of course you want to play, you want to play every game," he said. "Sometimes that's football.

"I've had to keep working and try to take my chances when I get the opportunity. That's what I've done and when called upon I'll try my best to help the team."

Asked if he thinks this could be his final chance to reach a big final with United, Rooney said: "My focus is on trying to help us win this final and that's my sole focus.

"I think it's a massive opportunity for us as a group of players to win a European title and my focus is to help us try and win this one."

Rooney continues to be linked with a big-money move to China, where his agent Paul Stretford spent time earlier in the year speaking to interested clubs.

Everton and the United States are other potential destinations, but Rooney is keen to stay at Old Trafford, even if he had to be pushed on a subject the forward seemed keen to skirt around.

"Would I like to stay? I've been at this club 13 years," he said. "Of course I want to play football. Of course (I want to do it here)."

Whether Rooney is in the starting line-up tonight - or the squad next season - remains to be seen, although his desire to end the season with another trophy is clear.

Rooney accepts United's top-four tilt is over, with Europa League glory offering the most likely route back to where "this club belongs", the Champions League.

"I think with Champions League semi-finals, you know you're in touching distance of final," Rooney, a European champion at United, said ahead of a clash with Celta they approach with a 1-0 first-leg advantage.

United have no fresh fitness concerns as they trained yesterday.

The only senior players absent from the section of the session open to media at the Aon Training Complex were those expected not to feature - the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw, Tim Fosu-Mensah and Ashley Young.

Marouane Fellaini is available for Thursday's match at Old Trafford, having been ruled out of the 2-0 Premier League loss at Arsenal on Sunday by his domestic suspension.

Manchester Utd v Celta Vigo

Live BT Sport 2, KO 8.05pm

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