Acting quickly, in a statement issued last night by the club and Rooney’s agent, Paul Stretford, it was confirmed that Rooney has no intention of leaving United.
“Manchester United and Wayne Rooney have been made aware of the theme of an article in tomorrow’s Independent newspaper. We have not seen the detail but can assure all United fans that the Manager and the Club are committed to Wayne Rooney and Wayne is committed to the Manager and the Club. The player and the Manager have always had and retain the utmost respect for each other and look forward to working together in the coming seasons. Any suggestion that Manchester United and Wayne Rooney are to part company is complete nonsense.”
Rooney supported this statement on his Twitter account, saying: “The independent are talking absolute rubbish my future is with Manchester United and the club and I are totally commited to each other. The manager and I have no issues and anyone who says different don’t know what they are talking about.”
His wife Coleen supported this on Twitter: “Haha!! Rumours, rumours, rumours!! And newspapers up to there same old tricks! Chatting it as usual! Get better sources!”
The journalist behind the story, James Lawton, was interviewed on Radio 5 Live last night. A few drinks in to his Friday night, Lawton quickly back-peddled on his story, slurring his words for added comedy value.
“The point I’m trying to make in the story, and I think it’s a valid one, is that there is a real problem in the relationship between the Manchester United manager and his star player,” he said. “I stand by the essence of what I’ve said in that there is a problem. Ferguson is famous for asking for trust and loyalty in his players and when that breaks, it can have a lasting effect. But if Rooney starts to perform to the level of consistent professionalism, which is a reasonable expectation, perhaps the crisis will pass.”