Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Backlash Brought Rooney to a U-Turn; Fergie Reveals Star's Mistake

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Backlash Brought Rooney to a U-Turn; Fergie Reveals Star's Mistake

Article excerpt

MANCHESTER United boss Sir Alex Ferguson believes Wayne Rooney realised he had made a major mistake when he felt the backlash against his plans to leave Old Trafford. Rooney stated last month that he would not sign a new contract with United, after failing to receive assurances over squad-strengthening.

But two days later he agreed a five-year stay, with Ferguson glad the England striker realised he had been hasty in going public over his concerns, which were met by an angry response from many supporters.

Ferguson believes the advice Rooney received was not in the 25-year-old's best interests.

"You don't necessarily have to heed advice after listening to it," Ferguson said. "Some young people take bad advice. He has an agent who is not the most popular man in the world and he obviously sold it to Wayne to ask away. The boy rushed in.

"But the minute he heard the response of the public and our supporters, he changed his mind, he knew he'd made a mistake.

"There's nothing wrong with that as long as you recognise it.

"He immediately apologised and agreed a new contract within a couple of hours.

"It wasn't done to get the contract, I don't think that for a minute. But maybe he should have listened to better advice."

Ferguson is now hoping to see Rooney rediscover prime form, after struggling for goals this year. Rooney has been at Nike's plush headquarters in Beaverton, on the west coach of the United States, for a week of conditioning work.

"We want to get Wayne back to his best," said Ferguson.

"He's had a good week in the States and we've got him to the point where we want him to be in terms of accelerating his fitness.

"Is he ready to get into the first team? We'll have to assess that when I get back." Ferguson was a special guest at the inaugural Aspire4Sport conference in Qatar today, and admitted that he has mellowed as a manager - but is still prepared to give his players the hairdryer treatment if warranted. …

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