Rooney is going nowhere - Ferguson
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney scores his second goal during the Premier League match against Southampton at Old Trafford. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Soccer:Alex Ferguson insists Wayne Rooney will still be at Manchester United next season. The Mancheater United manager left the striker out of the starting line-up for Tuesday’s Champions League defeat by Real Madrid, since when it has been suggested the Red Devils boss would be willing to accept an offer for the striker this summer.However, speaking ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final with Chelsea, Ferguson denied that was the case. “He will be here next year, you have my word on that,” he said. “There is no issue between myself and Wayne Rooney. To suggest we don’t talk is nonsense.
“He understood the reasons completely. Tactically we got it right. We don’t always but we did then. There are no issues with the player and he will be involved on Sunday. I left out Shinji Kagawa after he scored a hat-trick. I thought I would get more stick for that.”
Ferguson is still bitter about the circumstances of Tuesday’s defeat, in particular the dismissal of Nani, on which the entire contest turned. It is hard to keep your faith when you have things like that.”
Ferguson refused to say whether Rooney would actually start on Sunday. And he again repeated his belief that the 27-year-old needed to play matches in order to retain full fitness, an assessment that has raised so much debate over the past few days.
“Why should I help anyone by telling them my team? We don’t do that,” said Ferguson. “But Wayne does need a lot of football. He has always been that type. That has always been the case.”
Ferguson said he had been concerned about the appointment of Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir prior to Tuesday’s game. Cakir has now sent off seven players from English teams, but never one against them.
“I was concerned. I said that to my staff,” he said. “I had a big worry about it but it is gone now. There is nothing we can do about it.”
Ferguson is unlikely to be impressed when he discovers Cakir has chosen to break his own silence on the matter to Spanish newspaper AS. The United manager wondered whether there had been a Spanish influence over
Cakir’s appointment for the Old Trafford encounter, given Spanish federation president Angel Villar and Turkish federation chief Senes Erzik are chairman and deputy chairman respectively of UEFA’s referee’s committee.
Cakir has defended his decision to dismiss Nani, even though most observers — including Real coach Jose Mourinho but with the notable exception of former United captain Roy Keane — felt he had got it badly wrong.
“I feel well and I don’t doubt my decisions,” Cakir told AS. “The red card to Nani was correct. People will see that is the case in time.” Cakir also brandished other high-profile red cards in matches involving English teams, dismissing John Terry in Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Barcelona last season, Mario Balotelli in a Europa League game against Dynamo Kiev and, earlier this season, Steven Gerrard during England’s World Cup draw with Ukraine and Gary Cahill in the Club World Cup defeat to Corinthians.
“In the previous games with the English teams there was no unfair decision,” said Cakir. “What decision was incorrect? The red to Terry or Balotelli? I don’t think I made a mistake in showing those cards and sending them off.”
Regarding being at the centre of controversy this week, Cakir said: “It hasn’t made me feel sad. I don’t think about it. I’ve received more criticism on other occasions, but I’ve always got up and recovered. I can do it again.”
Meanwhile, Ferguson confirmed Phil Jones was still not fit enough to return after an ankle injury, although could be available to face Reading in the Premier League tomorrow week.
And the United boss admitted Nani may need a lift after his unfortunate experience in midweek. “Nani was obviously disappointed and we have to get rid of that feeling of guilt he maybe has,” said Ferguson. “I don’t think he did anything wrong and that’s the message we’ll give to him.”
Ferguson also opted against attacking old adversary and the under-fire Rafael Benitez, whom he faces at Old Trafford for the first time since his surprise arrival at Chelsea. “I’m not going to kick anyone when they’re lying down,” he said. “It’s not my style.”
However, a meeting with Chelsea offers the perfect pick-me-up. “In the cold light of day, though, we’re Manchester United and we have to get on with it. There’s nothing that can be done now. We have an important issue of a quarter-final on Sunday. I’ve cleared my mind. It’s just another day in the history of our club. Not a good day, but another day.”
Ryan Giggs will sit out Manchester United’s FA Cup quarter-final with Chelsea. Giggs is not required by manager Sir Alex Ferguson following his outstanding performance against Real Madrid, so his wide berth is likely to go to Antonio Valencia or Ashley Young.
Phil Jones (ankle) and Paul Scholes (knee) are definitely out, while the main focus will be on whether Rooney gets a start after being left on the bench against Madrid.
Man Utd:De Gea, Lindegaard, Amos, Rafael, Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Buttner, Nani, Valencia, Carrick, Cleverley, Anderson, Young, Kagawa, Welbeck, Rooney, Hernandez, Van Persie.