Ferguson absolves Rooney over contract controversy

Last Updated 25 October 2010, 11:49 IST

After watching his team move up to third place in the Premier League with a 2-1 win at Stoke on the injured Rooney's 25th birthday, Ferguson said that player agents were solely to blame when players agitated for a transfer.

Rooney seemed ready to leave Old Trafford when he questioned the club's ability to sign leading players and the club announced that he had refused to sign a new contract. But the England striker eventually signed a new five-year contract to replace a deal that was set to expire at the end of next season, reportedly more than doubling his previous salary of 90,000 pounds (USD 141,650) a week.

"There are always issues to deal with," Ferguson said. "When your top players come towards the end of their contracts you have to do something to get them a new one. They are all the same. You have to deal with agents of this world today, which is difficult.

"The players are no problem. There is no problem with players. Some agents are difficult." Rooney's agent, Paul Stretford, has been widely criticised in the British media for what has been perceived as a flirtation with United's rich neighbor, Manchester City.

United club captain Gary Neville, who played his 600th match for United yesterday, said that Rooney's commitment to the club would help boost morale as the team chases defending champion Chelsea at the top of the league.

"When our top players sign long-term contracts it obviously gives us a boost," Neville said in his column for the Sunday Times of Malta newspaper. "Wayne is staying and now we look forward to winning trophies with him in our team.

"The main thing is that after a difficult week the best outcome was reached for all parties." And Neville said United's fans will forgive Rooney once he recovers from his current ankle injury and starts scoring again.

"While the statement attributed to Wayne last Wednesday didn't go down very well, we all make mistakes in our lives and we've all done things we regret," Neville said.

"United fans will accept that. He has always given 100 per cent when he has pulled on a United shirt and that is the overriding factor.

"I have no doubt the fans will support him through the rest of his career here."

(Published 25 October 2010, 11:49 IST)

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