Steve McClaren expects Wayne Rooney to remain at Manchester United

Striker's future under speculation following Champions League omission

Former England manager Steve McClaren is convinced Wayne Rooney's future remains at Manchester United.

The decision of United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to leave Rooney out of his starting line-up to face Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday has sparked intense speculation that the 27-year-old could leave Old Trafford.

All of Thursday's national newspapers have carried stories suggesting the England forward's time at the club could be coming to an end.

McClaren, who also worked as Ferguson's assistant from 1999 to 2001, believes too much has been made of Rooney's omission.

He told Sky Sports News: "It is premature and obviously stirred up by the media.

"Everyone is looking for controversy and some like to find it in the selection Sir Alex made.

"But there are many good players at Manchester United. One player is not bigger than the football club - that is Sir Alex's mantra, that has always been his saying.

"He picked a team on Tuesday to beat Real Madrid and he very nearly succeeded.

"I wouldn't say he (Rooney) was dropped. I would say this was well planned, weeks and weeks ahead. Wayne Rooney would have known this decision was coming.

"He will have explained the reasons to Wayne Rooney why he was not playing, when he will be playing next, what he expects and what he expects in the next game.

"That is what he has done in the past, that is what I expect he has done on this occasion.

"That is how he keeps the squad happy and everybody on board.

"Everybody has to play, they have many big games. Wayne Rooney will be a big player for Manchester United to come."

The club and the player's representatives have not commented on the reports, but Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final could offer an indication as to whether Rooney remains in Ferguson's long-term plans.

McClaren feels it is now down to Rooney to respond with a performance on the field.

He said: "He won't be happy and Sir Alex does not expect his players to be happy about not playing.

"What he is looking for, for the team, is a reaction from Wayne Rooney, and no better place to start than at Old Trafford on Sunday."

McClaren was a member of Sven-Goran Eriksson's England backroom staff when Rooney shone at Euro 2004 before later succeeding the Swede as national boss.

Some reports have questioned Rooney's attitude but McClaren has seen enough of him to have no concerns.

He said: "Wayne Rooney is the first on the field and last off it.

"He works like a Trojan every day. He is a true professional. He is going to be a big player for Manchester United."

Despite that, McClaren acknowledges that Ferguson will not hesitate to move a player on should he deem it necessary.

He said: "That is one thing you can't predict because you have seen such big players for Manchester United come and go in previous years.

"He will make that decision early. He plans. That is the difference between top managers and just below. They plan ahead. They are a helicopter, way above everybody, planning not just the next game but the next five games, the season, even next season.

"He plans ahead and will be planning ahead now. He plans everything for the good of Manchester United, not for the good of Wayne Rooney, (Robin) van Persie or any one player.

"Sir Alex will look every week, every day, every season at each individual player very closely in training and games and say what kind of condition they are in and is he still mentally right for Manchester United.

"If not, he will have no hesitation in removing a player.

"But for the moment, I cannot see his (Rooney's) future beyond Manchester United."

PA

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Environment
The vaquita is being killed by fishermen trying to catch the totoaba fish, which is prized in China
environmentJust 97 of the 'world's cutest' sea mammals remain
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?