Moyes: Rooney can be a legend


Moyes: Rooney can be a legend

Rooney, likely to feature against bitter rivals Liverpool at Anfield tomorrow, only requires three more goals to become the fourth player to score 200 for United.

And, once he has overtaken Jack Rowley and Denis Law only Bobby Charlton, on 249, will be left to catch to become the club’s all-time leading marksman.

It is that kind of accolade that will be stressed to Rooney as the reason why he should remain with his current club, rather than hankering after a move, which still appears to be the situation even though it seems he will not now be leaving for Chelsea before the transfer window closes.

“There is a situation with Wayne where he could go on to emulate some of the greats at United with the goals he can score,” Moyes said.

“The challenge is there. We’ve said it openly — he’s got an opportunity to reach the great heights here.

“I wouldn’t say the heights of immortal people, but those like Sir Bobby Charlton are on as high a pedestal as anybody can get. We’ve set it down for him — can you put yourself in this position?

“Judging the crowd reaction last week, they would all be happy as well.”

Other than thanking United’s fans for their enthusiastic support during Monday’s goalless draw with Chelsea, Rooney has remained silent on his future during a summer when his name has rarely been out of the headlines.

What has been stressed by those close to him though is that he has no issues with Moyes.

And the United boss is happy to report the same situation the other way round.

“I’ve read all this stuff about what was supposed to have happened but I’ve never had a minute’s problem with him,” said Moyes.

“He wasn’t a bad lad. He was getting on with his work and is mentally in a pretty good place mainly because I saw him training every day getting himself in a good condition.”

The 27-year-old definitely caught the eye in a largely drab game on Monday, when his industry was obvious to everyone.

And now Moyes thinks Rooney only needs to find the net to be back to his best.

“Maybe he had to come back and show people what it meant the other night,” said the Red Devils chief.

“With his work rate he was as much a team player as he was an individual.

“Now I’m really keen on getting him focused and getting him on the goal sheet.”

Moyes, meanwhile, has confirmed the club remain active in the transfer market — but cannot offer any guarantees of success.

With the transfer window closing on Monday night, Moyes is still to sign his first player of any significance.

A further approach to Everton for Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini this week was immediately rejected, whilst Athletic Bilbao president Josu Urrutia yesterday confirmed an approach from United for midfielder Ander Herrera met with a similarly negative response.

Following the failed attempts to sign Thiago Alcantara and Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona it has been a frustrating start for Moyes’ Old Trafford tenure. And speculation United could be one of the two Premier League clubs in discussions with former world footballer of the year Kaka might be greeted with concern given the Brazilian has struggled for form in recent seasons. Moyes is refusing to comment on any specific player.

However, he remains keen to make additions.

“It was going to be a struggle because I was coming into a new job and was getting to know the players,” said Moyes.

“There was a new chief executive at the club as well so it was always going to take it a little bit of time to settle down.

“But we have been in and around the players we wanted to sign.

“We have been after two or three players and tried to go for them.

“Some of them we are still in with a shout with and some we are not.

“It might be busy in the next few days and I hope we do a little bit of business but I couldn’t guarantee it.”

If Urrutia’s words are any guide, Herrera falls firmly in the latter category.

One of the key men behind Bilbao’s humbling of United in the Europa League two seasons ago, Herrera was also part of the victorious Spain U21 squad along with David de Gea in that summer’s European Championships.

It is claimed the 24-year-old has a release clause of around £30.75m, but that United’s valuation fell some way short.

“Yes we received an offer last night, an official offer from Manchester United,” said Urrutia.

“Our club is different, our club is special, it’s based on sentiment. Our objective as a club is not to make money through our players, but to have the best performances as possible.

“To break a contract with Athletic, first they have to tell us they want to leave, and that’s not the case with Ander. Then they have to pay the buy-out clause in his contract, and that’s not the case here either.”

Moyes would surely have more luck with Baines and Fellaini given both men have told Everton privately of their wish to leave.

Baines’ arrival would create a pretty intense rivalry with Patrice Evra, unless United’s long-serving full-back became part of the transfer merry-go-round too, although Fellaini should be a more straightforward deal.

Heading into the third weekend of fixtures though, even Moyes accepts it is hardly an ideal scenario, although he did not quite go as far as his successor at Everton, who branded the whole transfer window concept as a “footballing circus”.

“I don’t think it is ideal that the teams are not settled and you cannot get on with it,” said Moyes.

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