Neville urges Rooney to stay put

Gary Neville has advised Wayne Rooney against a move away Manchester United, insisting there is no bigger achievement than playing for the Premier League powerhouse.

The striker, who played with Neville for seven years at United and four years with England, handed in a second transfer request in less than three years in May, with then-manager Alex Ferguson immediately ruling out an exit.

Rooney has reportedly held talks with two mystery clubs over a possible summer switch, but Neville has questioned why any player would actively seek an Old Trafford departure.

“I played with Wayne Rooney for many, many years,” Neville said. “He’s a fantastic football player. I’ve seen David Beckham, and other big players, leave Manchester United and it really is something that comes down to the individual and the club.

“I’ve seen Ryan Giggs at 27 years old get linked to Inter, Juventus and AC Milan and stay. I’ve seen David Beckham get linked to Barcelona and Real Madrid and leave. I’ve seen both ways succeed.

“Personally, with my allegiances, I would never recommend anyone leave Manchester United, because I believe it to be a great stage to play football and you can achieve what you want there.”

Moving on to speculation of possible new arrivals at Old Trafford, United reportedly had a lucrative bid rejected by Everton for left back Leighton Baines. Neville was reluctant to comment on the speculation, but acknowledged the talents of the England international.

“I’ve seen a lot of the speculation over the last few days about Leighton,” Neville said. “He had a fantastic season last year and was brilliant for Everton. He’s been a great performer for the last few years and it’s inevitable that he will be linked with the top clubs in the Premier League.”

Meanwhile Cesc Fabregas says it would be “unthinkable” for Barcelona to sell Lionel Messi, despite the arrival of Neymar earlier this summer.

“It is unthinkable for Messi not to be part of this club,” he said. “Leo is the most important player — he has no equal. Remove Messi and you may not lose everything, but you do run out of a large part of what makes this team tick.

“His individual efforts are so big that they contribute to the whole team and the club in general.”

Despite insisting Messi would remain the top dog at Barca, Fabregas was pleased with the arrival of Neymar from Santos and thinks he will add to the team.

“I think this team deserves everything he has gained,” Fabregas said. “He has been chased by almost all of our rival teams in the world. It will definitely to be a good environment for him to learn a lot and he can help us to win and achieve our goals.”

Fabregas’ own future has been under scrutiny this summer with his place in the first-team for the biggest matches still not secure because of fierce competition within the squad, but the midfielder continues to insist he is determined to fight for his place and succeed at his home club.

“I am eager and hoping to earn my position. I want to fight, compete and I especially like to win titles,” Fabregas said. “It was hard to get here. I fought hard and once you get the chance, you should take it. I will push forward and not lose sight of my goal, which is to win here.

“I trust my instincts and know what I can give. If it was believed that I don’t have the level to be at the club, I would not think twice, but I’m determined to work hard in training and play the best I can in our games.

“Sometimes it goes well — on other occasions it doesn’t — but I am convinced that everything will be fine.”


It is the fourth of May, 2007. I am coming home from work, tired and scrolling through images of Trapani, Sicily - our holiday destination in a few weeks. Nothing remarkable about the journey, until I read the story of a missing girl in Praia De Luz, Portugal.Learning Points: Give Madeleine McCann's family the space to put their lives back together

More From The Irish Examiner