Transfer news: Wayne Rooney and Manchester United could be moving closer to conciliation despite continued interest from Chelsea

Joking with the press is a sign Manchester United striker may be nearer making up than breaking away

the Liberty Stadium

"He's one of us," Michael Carrick said of Wayne Rooney late on Saturday night, the quiet man conjuring words which felt a so much more effective plea for a return to the fold than the more rehearsed "grass is always greener" message trotted out for Rooney all summer.

There are signs – fragile ones, still – that Rooney feels like one of the band again. When he walked around the player/media mixed zone on his way out of the Liberty Stadium, after Manchester United's 4-1 win over Swansea City, he grinned and laughed in the direction of a few journalists, the shared joke being that both sides knew that him stopping to discuss United was out of the question. This felt a long way from the last time he was at odds with the game – when he marched, sullen and stony-faced, out of mixed zones at the 2010 South Africa World Cup, his professional and personal worlds combusting all around him.

Other evidence scrambles the sense of a rapprochement, like Rooney not joining goal celebrations after arriving as a 62nd-minute substitute, but the general impression is that David Moyes may have been right when he thought that if he could only get Rooney away from the external influences and in with the group then he could get him straight. Moyes manages men in the deftest ways. When the world wanted to talk about Robin van Persie before United swung out of South Wales, he reminded us of how he had managed Rooney as a teenager. Those were well weighed words. No cloying garlands but a nod to the man United think they can restore to the "world-class" bracket.

What a far remove all that seemed from Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, whose garish public criticism of Victor Moses for returning late from international duty and transparent pitch for the lead headlines he duly won at the weekend, by claiming United have been second-rate champions, are precisely why United and Manchester City did not want him managing them. In another age and walk of life, they would have called Mourinho vulgar.

"That's his first soundbite of the season, isn't it? So we expect it," Rio Ferdinand said of Mourinho's talk, though what galled the United defender most of all was seeing his club being tipped to achieve nothing by writer after writer at the weekend. After Saturday's opener, the near unanimity that Chelsea – United's next opponents – or Manchester City are so much better may come to read like a collective amnesia about what Old Trafford actually possesses.

Ferdinand locates the premature talk of United's demise in a national desire to see them fail. "I think a lot of people expected [us to lose] – and wanted it, maybe. We've seen that from the vibe we've been getting all week. It's only one game. We're not saying we're going to win the league or anything like that [but] you don't appreciate it when people… not so much don't give you credit as don't put you in the position you should be. I think, being champions, you warrant maybe a little bit more but shouldn't expect things."

Moyes, who does not expect goalkeeper David de Gea to be impeded from playing by the bruise to the shin he took on Saturday, was more sanguine about all that. "Strangely enough, I wasn't nervous but I was apprehensive," he said after an afternoon of fan anthems which first reflected the fact that this was someone else's team – "So come on David Moyes, play like Fergie's boys" – and ended with him being taken to heart, with "David Moyes' red-and-white army". That noise was heartening, he said. "Yeah, it was; it was great. I think it does [feel strange] a little bit. I'm still settling in as well, it's still new to me. The job's still new to me."

Moyes has never gone in for the Mourinho kind of media machinations, even though he has fought with players and once squared up to greet Roberto Mancini with a Glasgow kiss. He knows defeating Swansea 4-1 is something and yet nothing because it will only take defeat to Chelsea to bring out the doomsayers. "Maybe; maybe so," he said to the notion that he might one day come to look upon this win as more significant than he did now. "I'm sort of just getting on with a day's work, really. You know, if I had lost today then would the questions have been a great deal different from you boys… No…? So there you go!"

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'