In anticipation of a story to be run by the Independent on Saturday, both Manchester United and Wayne Rooney issued statements denying that a rift between the striker and manager Sir Alex Ferguson would lead to a January departure for the player. The Independent's story, written by James Lawton, claims a source close to the club has revealed that the working relationship between Rooney and Fergie is "seriously damaged" and it has resulted in a situation that could cause the striker to leave during the current transfer window. It appears that the club was notified of this piece and in anticipation of it's release, Manchester United released this statement on Friday evening prior to it's publishing:
"We have not seen the detail but can assure all United fans that the Manager and the Club are committed to Wayne Rooney and Wayne is committed to the Manager and the Club.
The player and the Manager have always had and retain the utmost respect for each other and look forward to working together in the coming seasons.
Any suggestion that Manchester United and Wayne Rooney are to part company is complete nonsense."
In addition, Rooney released a statement in regards to the matter on his Twitter account:
"The independent are talking absolute rubbish my future is with Manchester United and the club and I are totally commited to each other, the manager and I have no issues and anyone who says different don't know what they are talking about"
Rooney was dropped for United's New Year's Eve match against bottom-of-the-table Blackburn Rovers because he was being disciplined for not being fit to train on December 27. On the evening of Boxing Day -- the same day as United's 5-0 defeat of Wigan Athletic -- it is believed that Rooney enjoyed an evening out with Jonny Evans, Darron Gibson, and their significant others. Evans is injured and has not featured since while Gibson has also yet to feature since despite the plethora of injuries/illness in central-midfield.
In October of 2010, Rooney was involved in a well-publicized contract dispute and it is thought that masterclass man-management by Fergie got his talisman to change his view towards United. The result was the striker signing a new five-year contract -- one that made him the highest paid player at the club. Since then, there has been no solid evidence of any sort of feud between the two and if anything, it appears that the manager and player get on well.
Perhaps there is a bit of tension between the manager and player from the Boxing Day and Blackburn match incident. Perhaps both are quite fond of each other. Perhaps even both. We really don't know. It seems very unlikely that Rooney would leave the club anytime soon, let alone during the current January transfer window. It was also a quick denial by both the player and club and it occurred even before the story was published. For the mean time, it's probably best to treat this as non-news and try not to read too much everything. I'm sure if Rooney isn't in the starting XI on Sunday versus Manchester City, then a media circus will begin in regards to this matter.