United braced for life without Rooney

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MANCHESTER, October 21- Manchester United stars have reacted to Wayne Rooney's shock revelation that he wants to leave Old Trafford by insisting they can cope without the England striker.

Rooney on Wednesday admitted he won’t extend his stay at United beyond the end of his current contract, which expires at the end of next season.

The 24-year-old says a lack of assurances over United’s ability to improve the squad to ensure they can still compete for major honours was behind his decision to end talks over a new contract.

Reports suggest Rooney has also angered United by demanding wages of 150,000 pounds (236,291 dollars) a week after tax and he could even be sold in the January transfer window.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson was due to meet the club’s chief executive David Gill on Thursday to decide their next move but a transfer to Manchester City, Chelsea, Real Madrid or Barcelona looks likely.

Rooney’s team-mates were happy to have their say about his attack on United’s lack of ambition after their 1-0 win over Bursaspor in the Champions League on Wednesday.

And United left-back Patrice Evra had no qualms about telling Rooney to leave if he isn’t enjoying life at Old Trafford.

"If one player in the team doesn’t trust the others he should not play in the team," Evra told the London Evening Standard. "Me, I’m not in that point. I trust everyone and I know we can win.

"It’s true no one wants to lose Wayne Rooney, he is one of our best players. But I’m not Wayne, I’m not Manchester United or Sir Alex Ferguson. I can’t answer for him.

"I think the target here is to win back the title and we’re focused on that. I’ve been here four years and when we didn’t win the league last year I was so upset because at United you need to win every time; that’s the pressure we have. If a player is not happy with that pressure he should go."

United captain Nemanja Vidic wants the situation resolved to avoid any further distractions.

"When he (Rooney) is going around talking about the bad performances or something happening around the club, it is not good for the players and not good for the team," Vidic said.

"It has happened before because players will always negotiate with the club about their contract and there has been so much talking in the papers. We are just trying to train and not speak too much."

United midfielder Darren Fletcher is confident United can cope with Rooney’s departure, in the same way they responded well to the past sales of stars like David Beckham, Paul Ince and Ruud van Nistelrooy.

"There’s been a few instances of big players leaving Manchester United in the past but Manchester United goes on," Fletcher said.

"It’s the biggest club in the world. So you have to keep going and respond. The fans don’t let you settle for anything other than winning.

"All this can be a distraction but we can’t let it be like that. We have to focus and trust the manager. As players we have to believe in the manager.

"We have got a lot of young and exciting players and it might be a chance for someone to take on that mantle. When great players go, young players step up to the mark. We have seen that with Nani this year."

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