Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney yesterday praised the retiring Alex Ferguson as a “fantastic manager” — just days after the veteran Scottish boss revealed that the striker had submitted a transfer request.
No sooner had the Premier League champions defeated Swansea City 2-1 on Sunday to bring down the curtain on Ferguson’s final home match after more than 26 years in charge, than he said Rooney wanted to leave Old Trafford.
Ferguson was given a rapturous send-off by a 75,000 crowd on Sunday and the adulation continued on Monday during an open top bus parade to Manchester Town Hall to celebrate the 13th Premier League title of the Scot’s United reign.
The only sour note came when fans booed Rooney as he took his place on the bus, clearly unhappy the striker would want to leave.
Rooney, speaking to United’s in-house television station MUTV, tried to play down any talk of a rift with Ferguson, saying the Scot deserved all the plaudits he received.
“It is a fitting tribute to the manager after so long and so much success. As much as it is for the team, it’s for the manager, for what he has achieved and what he has done to this football club. He deserves everything he has got,” Rooney said.
“He has been brilliant for us all. He is a great manager, he is successful and he is a winner. To do it for so long is incredible, he is a fantastic manager,” he said.
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.