United delay Rooney's £150,000-a-week deal

Manchester United will wait until the conclusion of the World Cup in July before beginning contract talks in earnest with Wayne Rooney, which suggests they believe there is categorically no risk of a superb tournament with England leading to more wealthy clubs enticing him away later this summer.

United's chief executive David Gill said in January that a new deal for Rooney, who is expected to increase his basic £90,000-a-week salary at Old Trafford to more than £150,000, would be tied up no earlier than July and the first reports from Spain of Real Madrid's interest in the striker have not changed the picture. The club are clearly convinced that there is no prospect of Rooney becoming pessimistic about United's prospects of regaining domestic and European ascendancy if other clubs outspend United this summer. For his part, Sir Alex Ferguson hinted at a summer of transfer activity when he indicated on Tuesday night that there was need to "freshen up" the squad.

Rooney declared after receiving the fans and players' player of the year award on the same evening that Manchester United have only themselves to blame if they don't win the title this weekend, having blown the chance to capitalise on other teams' weaknesses to win one of the most open Premier League title races.

"All the top teams have lost games. If we could have stayed more consistent and not lost so many games we would have won the League," he said. "We shouldn't be losing seven games at this club. Other teams have dropped points as well so it has been an open league."

Rooney reflected on how two years of practice have contributed to him scoring far more goals with his head. "I've been practising those for two years now and I never thought I would score headers consistently but I had a great run in the middle of the season when I scored 10 in about 11 or 12 games. It is good when your hard work pays off," he said. He believes there is "still hope" that Wigan may deny Chelsea a point and allow United to take the title by defeating Stoke City at Old Trafford on Sunday.

In an interview for Match of the Day magazine, he declared that the United player he most likes to play with is Antonio Valencia. "I couldn't have scored the amount of goals I have this season without him. He's been great this year and the quality of balls he puts in the box for me has been unbelievable." Rooney also confirmed the story of how he has taught his wife's parents' parrot to say his son Kai's name: "It was funny at first, but now it just won't shut up."

United's Ben Foster has accepted he will have to leave Old Trafford to revive his career. "If you leave this club you are only ever going to go down," he said. "But I want to be playing football. I am not interested in just hanging around and I would go if the club wanted to sell me." A loan move to Birmingham City seems a possibility, with Joe Hart back at Manchester City.

Gary Neville agreed with Rooney that United must shoulder the blame if their attempt for a record fourth successive league title fails on Sunday. "When you leave it in the hands of others, you have to take the punishment for it," he said.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea