MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, May 13 – Outgoing Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson confirmed that striker Wayne Rooney has asked to leave the club for the second time in three years.
Ferguson, who retires at the end of the season, dropped Rooney for the 2-1 win over Swansea City in his final home game, and said the England international had not been in the right frame of mind to play.
“I don’t think Wayne was keen to play because he’s asked for a transfer and he wants to think it through in his mind. I think that’s a good idea,” Ferguson told Sky Sports.
“We’re not going to let him go. I think maybe he’s a little bit frustrated that he’s been taken off once or twice in the last few weeks.”
Asked to confirm that Rooney had submitted a transfer request, Ferguson replied: “Yes, he’s asked, yeah.”
Although Rooney was not included in United’s match-day squad, he took part in the post-match victory celebrations after the squad were presented with the Premier League trophy and was also seen to share a brief on-pitch embrace with Ferguson.
Rooney last asked to leave United in 2010, when he accused the club of failing to match his ambitions, only to change his mind and sign a new five-year contract.
Speculation about his future was sparked after he was left out of the United starting XI for the crucial Champions League last 16 home game against Real Madrid in March, with England team-mate Danny Welbeck playing in his place.
He has also been obliged to play in an unfamiliar midfield role in recent weeks, due to top scorer Robin van Persie’s status as the club’s number-one striker.
Rumours that Rooney had asked to leave the club again first emerged shortly after Ferguson announced on Wednesday that he was leaving Old Trafford after a record-breaking 26-and-a-half-year spell in which he won 38 trophies.
Ferguson’s successor, David Moyes, handed Rooney his professional debut at the age of 16 when he was at Everton.
Rooney joined United in a £27 million ($42 million, 31.9 million euros) transfer two years later and although Moyes sued him over remarks that appeared in the player’s autobiography in 2006, the pair later reconciled.