Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane has advised Wayne Rooney to make sure he puts his own interests first.
The England striker's future at Old Trafford has been thrown into doubt this week after he contradicted manager Sir Alex Ferguson on an injury issue, and it's understood Rooney will not sign a new contract.
With his current deal set to run out in the summer of 2012, there is speculation the 24-year-old could be sold as early as January.
Ipswich manager Keane, who ended a 12-year stint with United in 2005 after a spat with Ferguson, said on www.dailymail.co.uk: "Players and managers fall out all the time. It's part of life.
"If I was to offer advice to Wayne, who is a good lad, I would tell him to make sure he looks after number one.
"Players are pieces of meat - that's how I look at it. When your time's up, your time's up.
"Luckily for Wayne he's at a good age and he's fit."
Along with Keane, David Beckham and Jaap Stam are other players who have left Old Trafford after falling foul of Ferguson, but the 39-year-old Ipswich boss does not believe that result is inevitable with Rooney.
"It depends on the situation and whether you have been lied to or not," he said. "But, as usual, we are second guessing what has gone on at the club, which is dangerous."