Wayne Rooney agreed to a new five-year contract with Manchester United on Friday, keeping him at the Premier League club until June 2015 and ending intense speculation about his future.
Rooney to stay at Manchester United
Wayne Rooney has agreed a new five-year contract with Manchester United.
The club confirmed the news today, ending an amazing week, which included Rooney insisting the Old Trafford outfit no longer matched his ambitions. Yet after a staggering 24-hour period, and demonstration by irate supporters at Rooney's house last night, the striker is now set to stay at Old Trafford.
"Sometimes, when you're in a club, it can be hard to realise just how big it is and it takes something like the events of the last few days to make you understand," said Sir Alex Ferguson. "I think Wayne now understands what a great club Manchester United is."
It barely seemed credible such a position could be arrived at so quickly. But the conciliatory nature of a holding statement from United last night suggested rapprochement was in the offing.
And, after consultation with the owners, who allayed his fears about the future direction of United, Rooney agreed to extend his contract, which will now expire in 2015.
"It's been a difficult week, but the intensity of the coverage is what we expect at Manchester United," said Ferguson. "I said to the boy that the door is always open and I am delighted Wayne has agreed to stay.
"I am pleased he has accepted the challenge to guide the younger players and establish himself as one of United's great players. It shows character and belief in what we stand for.
"I am sure everyone involved with the club will now get behind Wayne and show him the support he needs to produce the performances we know he is capable of."
Rooney's representatives met with Ferguson and United chief executive David Gill yesterday in a bid to resolve an issue that was sparked two days earlier when a "shocked" and "bemused" Ferguson revealed the striker wanted to leave Old Trafford.
Ferguson said on Tuesday he did not understand the reasons behind Rooney's decision, only for the player to release a statement the following day detailing his concerns with United's squad strength. Rooney also claimed he had not been given any assurances by Gill about the club's future.
His form has dipped dramatically this season, with his private life becoming the subject of newspaper allegations about his private life.
Rooney's relationship with Ferguson, which was widely reported to have broken down as a result of those allegations, appeared to worsen when the player publicly contradicted claims by his manager that he had been struggling with an ankle injury this season.
The 24-year-old Rooney said it is primarily Ferguson who has convinced him to remain at the 18-time English champions and is now determined to get back in United supporters' favour.
"I'm sure the fans over the last week have felt let down by what they've read and seen. But my position was from concern over the future," Rooney said. "The fans have been brilliant with me since I arrived and it's up to me through my performances to win them over again."