Alex Ferguson tries to make peace with Wayne Rooney
Rooney was 'fantastic' against Bayer Leverkusen says Fergie - but his comments could backfire
FORMER Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has showered praise on Wayne Rooney in what the The Guardian says is an attempt "to rebuild relations" with the striker following the breakdown in their relationship at the end of last season.
The former Manchester United manager dropped Rooney from his starting line-up for the final games of of his final season in charge and claimed later that Rooney had made an official transfer request, which the club accepts "was not the case".
Whatever the reason behind Ferguson's mischievousness, it appears the 71-year-old Scot has used an interview with MUTV to try to repair the damage he caused over the summer. "Wayne's performance was fantastic, I was pleased to see that," said Fergie when asked about Rooney's two-goal display against Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday night.
"He's got his energy back - the determination, his purpose to attack players, was all very encouraging to me. Being a director, I'm delighted to see that. He's back to what we always remember."
Ferguson added that Rooney in tandem with Robin van Persie gives United an edge over their rivals. "We will have a fantastic chance [of success] because in Van Persie and Rooney, you have forwards who can win you games," he said.
The Daily Telegraph says Ferguson's words are designed to win over Rooney whose tense relationship with his former manager continues to be the "central factor in the player's unhappiness at United".
The paper claims the 27-year-old, who against Leverkusen became only the fourth United player to score 200 goals, is still seething about Ferguson's behaviour last season. Indeed, the Telegraph claims that Ferguson's presence as a United director has left the player believing it makes it "impossible for him to continue playing for the club".
Certainly Ferguson undermined Rooney last season with statements about his form and fitness and while this latest move is designed to persuade the England forward to remain at Old Trafford, the Telegraph says it could backfire for United.
"By signalling Rooney's return to top billing with his positive comments, Ferguson may now have strengthened the player's position should he and his advisers pursue the new contract which is likely to be offered by the club later this year."
Rooney's contract expires at the end of next season but Chelsea are known to be stalking him and, given the Blues' current goal-scoring problems, an irresistible offer may be heading Rooney's way in the New Year. ·