Manchester United manager David Moyes responds after Jose Mourinho says Wayne Rooney is a player 'I like very much'

Despite the Chelsea manager talking up the striker, the Manchester United boss reiterates Rooney is not for sale
  • @simonrice

David Moyes has been forced yet again to insist that Wayne Rooney is not for sale after Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho spoke of his admiration for the striker.

Both Chelsea and United are currently in Bangkok embarking on their pre-season tours - and although Rooney is not present in Thailand - he continues to dominate the agenda.

When asked about Rooney earlier today, Mourinho said just enough to spark headlines about Chelsea's interest.

"I cannot speak about players from other teams," he said. "But you know me...

"I always say what I think and he is a player I like very much. I cannot say more than that.

"Being fast and direct, I like him very much. But he is a Manchester United player."

Despite Mourinho's comments, Moyes stuck with his mantra about Rooney and said that not even the 'Special One' can change it.

"I don't think so," the Scot said, when asked if the Blues manager was being mischievous. "People are entitled to talk about good players.

"I am being asked plenty about Wayne so I am sure Jose will be getting asked about lots of players as well.

"It is hard to keep repeating myself - but I will do. Wayne is a Manchester United player and will remain that."

Rooney could clearly deal with the confusion himself by stating his own thoughts on his future.

It is something within his power given the speed with which he underlined how disappointed he was to be leaving Thailand last night.

But it has not happened. And until it does, the speculation will continue no matter what Moyes says.

"I have really covered all the things on Wayne," the United boss said.

"You mustn't forget Manchester United is about a team, not any one individual.

"In lots of ways I am only interested in the team and some of the questions are reverting back to stuff I covered last week."

At least Moyes was able to deliver some positive news on Rooney's injury.

Though the problem is evidently much worse than when it first surfaced at Carrington prior to departure on Wednesday, the United boss feels Rooney could be fit by the time his team-mates return home at the end of the month.

"We didn't expect it," he said. "We wouldn't have brought him if we had known. But once we had it checked, what would be the point in taking a risk?

"We could have kept him and taken him to all the other places but he wouldn't have played the games. We thought for the benefit of the player, the best thing to do was get him back right away and let him get on with his rehabilitation.

"We will keep his work up. With a hamstring injury you can do lots of work in the swimming pool and some work in the gym.

"And when we return from this tour we still have the game in Stockholm, the Community Shield and Rio (Ferdinand)'s testimonial as well.

"It is really important we get players fit for those games and Wayne should only be out for two or three weeks.

"He was in really good shape. He came back in a good fighting weight."

It seems skipper Nemanja Vidic is another who will play no part in the tour, even though United's initial response to his absence from their flight out of Manchester yesterday was to say the Serbia defender would eventually join up.

Vidic is presently undergoing a series of injections to ease a problem with the sciatic nerve in his back.

And Moyes is mindful of aggravating it on a long flight to one of the remaining destinations; Australia, Japan and Hong Kong.

"He is doing fine," the Scot said. "He is having a course of injections to help his sciatica. If he improves and we felt he was right, we would consider bringing him out later on.

"But the one thing we don't want to do is make it worse by flying him a long way around the world and find his back has been affected.

"We have to consider that."

And, at this stage, Moyes cannot be certain whether Portugal winger Nani will make it either.

"Nani had an operation on his nose to clear a bit of breathing," said Moyes.

"At the moment we are not sure if flying is allowed.

"That is the one downside to it."