x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Wayne Rooney set for US move to recuperate

Having persuaded Rooney to drop his threat to quit the club, United are sending the striker to train with Nike in Oregon as he recovers from injury.

LONDON // Wayne Rooney has been lambasted by the British media, jeered by fans and this weekend will be burnt in effigy in an English town.

No wonder the Manchester United striker is moving to the US to recover from his latest injury.

Rooney was voted England's player of the year last season, but has gone from national hero to public pariah in three months following a poor World Cup for his country, a public wrangle over his United future and newspaper allegations of marital infidelities.

Having persuaded Rooney to drop his threat to quit the club, United are sending the striker to train with Nike, their sponsors, in Portland, Oregon, as he recovers from the ankle injury that has kept him out of action for three weeks.

"We feel it's in the best interests of him and the club to have a change of scenery for a while," Mike Phelan, the United assistant manager, said.

"He needs the conditioning and he can go there without the attention he'd get around here."

United supporters turned on Rooney two weeks ago when he publicly threatened to quit over what he said was the club's inability to compete in the transfer market for top players.

Some fans have since softened their stance after he rescinded that threat and signed a contract that makes him the best-paid player in United's 132-year history.

Towns across England light bonfires and set off fireworks every year to commemorate the failure of a November 5 plot to blow up parliament and King James I in 1605.

Bonfires are traditionally topped with an effigy of the conspirator Guy Fawkes but, in a sign of Rooney's current unpopularity, the southeast England town of Edenbridge has picked the burly striker instead as the figure worthy of being put to the torch.

Nike, which also sponsors United, has stuck with Rooney through the recent trouble. But the sports equipment manufacturer would not say just what Rooney can do in Portland that he could not do in Manchester.

"Manchester United's medical and fitness staff have requested access to Nike facilities to deliver a tailored programme of fitness conditioning," Nike said in a statement.

"We are unable to share exact details of the programme as these are created between Manchester United and Wayne."