Beckham declares delight at Ferguson's about-turn

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The Independent Football

David Beckham last night revealed he was "over the moon" about Sir Alex Ferguson postponing his retirement as the Manchester United manager.

Relations between the manager and his England midfielder became strained before Christmas when Beckham was left on the bench for a number of matches, prompting speculation that the player's future at Old Trafford was in doubt and a host of top European clubs were waiting in the wings to sign him this summer.

Beckham also confirmed that, although an increased salary had been agreed last September, negotiations over image rights to be incorporated into his new contract are still on-going. However, having now rediscovered his form and reclaimed his place in the side, his delight at Ferguson's decision to stay on suggests the England captain is set to follow suit.

Beckham and his fellow United team-mates only found out about the decision on Tuesday morning as they turned up for training. "We had been hearing little rumours but we didn't believe them," Beckham said. "He came in before training and told us it was a big decision and he had decided to stay on. I am over the moon."

Beckham added: "The negotiations have been going well and it has been going on for quite a while. It's not the salary that's a problem, that was sorted out in September. It's just the image rights that needed a little perking."

The West Ham United manager, Glenn Roeder, has accepted that Paolo Di Canio could carry out his threat to return home to Italy when his contract expires at the end of next season, but has still not totally discounted the prospect of the volatile striker ending up with Manchester United.

Di Canio, in Rome undergoing dental treatment while he serves a three-match suspension, was reported to have stated he will leave the Premiership once he has fulfilled his contractual obligations.

Roeder said: "He has had a difficult time recently. He comes from a big family and a member of the family he was very close to passed away recently. Paolo said to me that he has been away for six years and there comes a time when you have been away long enough and feel it's time to go home. We have to respect whatever decision he makes."

Ferguson backed out of a move for Di Canio once Dwight Yorke had turned down the chance of a move to Middlesbrough. Roeder said: "Alex did finish by saying 'you never know' and I have that last sentence in my mind. Now it looks like he is going to sign a longer contract, who knows?"

Preston North End's acting chairman, Derek Shaw, has told United to forget about hiring their manager, David Moyes. The 38-year-old Scot has again been linked with a move to Old Trafford to work as assistant to Ferguson, who has worked without a No 2 since Steve McClaren left to manage Middlesbrough last summer.

Moyes, a good friend of the United manager, would seem to fit the bill, but Shaw is determined to keep Moyes at Deepdale. "We have had no approach from Manchester United, and nor would we welcome one," Shaw said. "David is our manager, and we would like it to remain that way."