Ferguson promises the Giggs treatment for troubled Rooney

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Wayne Rooney heard Sir Alex Ferguson hail his new £27m striker as "a total footballer" yesterday before pledging that the short fuse which brought him more bookings than goals for Everton and the well-chronicled problems in his private life would not turn into a distracting sideshow at Manchester United.

Wayne Rooney heard Sir Alex Ferguson hail his new £27m striker as "a total footballer" yesterday before pledging that the short fuse which brought him more bookings than goals for Everton and the well-chronicled problems in his private life would not turn into a distracting sideshow at Manchester United.

In the Europa Suite at Old Trafford - an apposite venue for the press conference to unveil a player who claims a desire for Champions' League football as the main reason for forsaking his boyhood favourites - the issue was raised as to what advice the United manager might offer to a teenager who has both a difficult reputation and money to burn.

Rooney replied: "I don't think he has to say anything to me. As a professional footballer, I know myself. No one has to tell me how to behave on or off the pitch." Ferguson nodded approvingly and added: "Well done."

Ferguson acknowledged that the pressures on young players have intensified over the decade since he famously shielded the young Ryan Giggs, adding: "Wayne will get the same security and protection. In the dressing-room there are people like Keane, Scholes, Giggs and the Neville brothers - all stable, mature professionals.

"Wayne will see them and how they've grown into what they are. It is not by accident. He is coming to the club that can handle most things, because we get the highest profile and most attention."

Rooney, who is unlikely to play until late September after sustaining a broken foot in England's Euro 2004 defeat by Portugal, cut a relatively slim figure which belied both a lengthy spell on the sidelines and his image as a fast-food eater. With his fiancée, Colleen McLoughlin, and his agent, Paul Stretford, looking on (the latter being £1.5m richer for his part in the transfer), Rooney insisted he had "matured a lot" over the past year. He added: "You have to because a lot of people are trying to bring me down."

The 18-year-old Liverpudlian, not previously noted for his fluency as a public speaker, talked confidently about "a tough week for all involved" in the transfer.

"I'd made up my mind six weeks ago that I wanted to leave Everton," he said. "It's hard for Evertonians because they see me as one of their own. They are a massive club and if they had been in the Champions' League it would have been a different matter. But I wanted to move on for the sake of my career and I see no better place than Manchester United."

The feeling, as articulated by Ferguson, was mutual. He was first alerted to Rooney's ability when the player was 14 and asked David Moyes, the Everton manager, whether he would sell at the end of last season. He said no, only for Newcastle's attempt to buy Rooney last week - "a strange twist of fate" according to Ferguson - to prompt United into action. "We couldn't afford to let a player like that escape our clutches when he's just 30 miles up the road. That would have been a terrible shame."

Where would the prodigy play? "Wayne is a total footballer who can play anywhere, though maybe I won't use him in the back four!" Ferguson said. "Any midfield position, up front, or off the front. His best position would probably be just behind the striker, because his options are open to do a lot of things there and he has the ability to beat men, which is very important in that role. He could also play with two other strikers. I'm just excited about the potential. We are talking about a fantastic player."

WAYNE'S WORTH THE DEAL IN DETAIL

Everton could earn up to an extra £7m over and above the basic £20m transfer fee.

£4m of the additional money is payable if the following events happen over the next five years:

  • £1m if United win the Champions' League.
  • £500,000 if United are runners-up in the Champions' League.
  • £500,000 if United win the Premiership.
  • £250,000 if United finish second in the Premiership.
  • £150,000 if United win the FA Cup.
  • £1.5m if Rooney extends his contract with United.
  • £500,000 if Rooney earns 20 England caps in competitive games while a United player.
  • £500,000 if Rooney plays a further 20 times for England in competitive games while a United player.

Everton will receive an extra £3m, paid in yearly £1m instalments starting on 1 August 2006, provided that Wayne Rooney remains a Manchester United player during that time.

Everton have also negotiated a 25 per cent "sell-on" agreement, under which they would receive a quarter of any profit United make from the future sale of Rooney.

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