Despite being unsettled at the club, Wayne Rooney had nothing but praise for the retiring manager.
Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney on Tuesday praised the retiring Alex Ferguson as a “fantastic manager” — just days after the veteran Scottish boss revealed that the striker had submitted a transfer request.
No sooner had the Premier League champions defeated Swansea 2-1 on Sunday to bring down the curtain on Ferguson’s final home match after more than 26 years in charge, than he said England international Rooney wanted to leave Old Trafford.
New United manager David Moyes meanwhile lauded Rooney as “one of the best players in the world” — an indication the man who gave the player his professional debut when they were both at Everton might want him to stay with the Red Devils.
Ferguson was given a rapturous send-off by a 75,000 crowd on Sunday and the adulation continued Monday when he took centre stage during am open top bus parade to Manchester Town Hall to celebrate the 13th Premier League title of the Scot’s United reign.
The only sour note came when some fans booed Rooney as he took his place on the bus, clearly unhappy the striker would want to leave.
Rooney, speaking to United’s in-house television station MUTV, tried to play down any talk of a rift between with Ferguson, saying the former Aberdeen manager deserved all the plaudits he received during the parade.
“It is a fitting tribute to the manager after so long and so much success. As much as it is for the team, it’s for the manager, for what he has achieved and what he has done to this football club. He deserves everything he has got,” Rooney said.
“He has been brilliant for us all. He is a great manager, he is successful and he is a winner. To do it for so long is incredible, he is a fantastic manager.”
Ferguson, who retires at the end of the season, dropped Rooney for the Swansea match and said the forward had not been in the right frame of mind to play.
“I don’t think Wayne was keen to play because he’s asked for a transfer and he wants to think it through in his mind. I think that’s a good idea,” Ferguson told Sky Sports.
“We’re not going to let him go. I think maybe he’s a little bit frustrated.”
Rooney last asked to leave United in 2010, when he accused the club of failing to match his ambitions, only to change his mind and sign a new five-year contract.
Ferguson’s successor as United manager will be current Everton boss Moyes — a man who gave Rooney his professional debut at the age of 16 when the forward was with the Merseysiders.
Rooney joined United in a £27 million transfer two years later and although Moyes sued him over remarks that appeared in the player’s autobiography in 2006, the pair later reconciled.
Moyes, speaking Monday to a meeting of the Cambridge University debating society, said of Rooney: “I don’t watch all Manchester United games but he is definitely one of the best players in the world.
“I remember watching him during training and he was amazing. We (the staff) asked each other: ‘Did he just do that?’ I believe he is the last street footballer,” added Moyes, who will take over at United in July.