Last updated : 27 June 2004 By Editor

The Sunday Times, The Express, News of the World and The Mail on Sunday all run stories saying that Rooney will choose United over Chelsea.

Everton's Chief Exec Trevor Birch:

"We will be sitting down with Wayne and his agent to offer him a new contract to stay at Everton. We do not want him to leave," said Birch.

David Moyes:

"I can categorically state we are not interested in selling Wayne. I don't know how many times I have to say it. We have had no contact from any other club about him."

Schmikes in The Sunday Times:

I hope Wayne chooses United over Chelsea. There are a couple of reasons. He’s a northern boy. His family are very important to him. If he plays for United, he won’t need to move home. If he chooses Chelsea, he would find himself in London, a big city far from home where there are a lot of temptations. Chelsea under Roman Abramovich are a new club, a club that is buying rather than building. Rooney needs somewhere that is stable, where there is a proven record of developing young players.

Chelsea have a new manager who is totally inexperienced in English football. I’m not sure Jose Mourinho would have the capacity, in the short term, to look after a star young player. He’ll be under huge pressure at Stamford Bridge, and his priority will be looking after No 1.

On the other hand, you know for a fact that United have the set-up — and above all, the manager — to develop talent. I really hope Rooney ends up there, and I’m already imagining the kind of partnership he could develop with Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Sir Alex Ferguson is exactly who Rooney needs. The most important things he teaches young players are humility and respect. He keeps his players under control, and the thing he insists on more than anything else is that as a Manchester United player your priority has got to be football, 100%. Ultimately, that was David Beckham’s downfall: Ferguson was not impressed with all his off-field activities. I saw several players leave Old Trafford because Ferguson felt they were doing too much outside the game.

Ryan Giggs is a model of how Ferguson can nurture a player. Giggs has been able to make good money commercially, but that side of things has never had an influence on his football. You don’t see him with a new haircut every week, or in the company of a new woman. He has not only developed into a fantastic footballer, but a really good man. Giggsy, at 18, was on the same level as Rooney is now in terms of the adulation. Indeed, I don’t remember seeing anybody as good as Rooney at the same age, except Giggs.

At United, Rooney would be only one star among many, and not be expected to carry the team. The pressure at Old Trafford is distributed among the team. You can see, in the development of Cristiano Ronaldo, that Ferguson hasn’t lost his touch with youngsters, and Carlos Queiroz’s record of dealing with young players is one of the things that attracted Ferguson to the Portuguese coach, who is back as his No 2. With Ronaldo and Darren Fletcher there, Rooney would also have two people around in a similar boat to him. Going to United from Everton, he wouldn’t be crossing any lines in terms of club rivalries, unlike Alan Smith.