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Sir Alex Ferguson autobiography: Wayne Rooney demanded to leave the club at the end of last season

Forward was unhappy at being played out of position

Sir Alex Ferguson has reiterated that Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney wanted to leave the club at the end of last season, with the 71-year-old admitting that the England international had asked for a transfer following the final game of his career against West Brom in May.

Rooney and Ferguson’s relationship had deteriorated in the final stages of the Scot’s 27-year tenure as United manager, with the striker playing out of position before being dropped altogether.

It was because of this that Ferguson feels the 27-year-old asked to move away from Old Trafford, although Rooney initially denied making a full transfer request and has since avoided talking about the matter.

Speaking at a press conference to publicise the launch of his biography, Ferguson said: “Wayne asked away because he felt he was playing out of position.

”I can understand that. As a player myself, I was dropped at a quarter past two before a Scottish Cup Final - and I was the top-scorer.

“I wanted to know why - and I had a heated discussion with the manager that day.

”So for Wayne to come and say he was disappointed to be played out of position - I can understand it. But my judgement was that Wayne wasn't playing well enough.

Rooney has since re-established himself in the United starting line-up under new manager David Moyes, with the former Everton boss claiming that Rooney had proven his doubters wrong by his return to form for both club and country.

Ferguson was in complete agreement over Rooney’s current performances, with the forward having scored five times in all competitions this season despite United’s difficult start.

“When you see him playing like he is, do you think I would drop him? No way.

”He is... a great player for Manchester United. The player who is playing now is a different player.“

Ferguson also took a moment to show his continued support for Moyes despite his fellow Scotsman guiding the Red Devils to just three victories in their first eight games. Ferguson believes that if he can replicate the assistance that another club legend showed him, Moyes will soon turnaround their form to return United to the top.

”When I joined Manchester United (in 1986) I was given great encouragement from Matt Busby, who was a fantastic help to me,” said Ferguson.

“I hope to help David Moyes in exactly the same way.”

He was also in complete agreement that Moyes was right to express his anger to the Football Association regarding their difficult start to the season, with United having already played Liverpool, Chelsea and rivals Manchester City, where they suffered a humiliating 4-1 defeat.

“When I saw that fixture list I would have been raging too,” said Ferguson.

“It was a really difficult start to the season.

“But do you know something, Manchester United are the only club that can win the league from coming from behind.

“Once they get the ball rolling, everything will be fine.”

Further reading...

Sir Alex on...the end of his relationship with David Beckham

Sir Alex on...Beckham and that flying boot

Sir Alex on... Rock Of Gibraltar 'misunderstanding'

Sir Alex’s reign in pictures

My Autobiography: the key observations

Sir Alex on...the ‘battle of the buffet’ after Arsenal victory

Sir Alex on…turning down the England job twice

Sir Alex on…Cristiano Ronaldo, the greatest player he worked with

Sir Alex on… Rafa Benitez turning their rivalry personal