Premier League

Fergie brushes off Rooney issue

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Sir Alex Ferguson sidestepped the Wayne Rooney issue ahead of Manchester United's Premier League clash with West Brom at Old Trafford.

Rooney appeared to challenge his boss' authority on Tuesday night when he made a point of speaking to the media after England's goalless draw with Montenegro to claim he had not been suffering from an ankle injury.

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As that was the pretext under which Ferguson had left Rooney out of United's meetings with Valencia and Sunderland, it raised question marks about the pair's relationship.

However, if there is an issue to be resolved, the United manager is clearly not interested in dealing with it publicly.

"It is water off a duck's back to me," Ferguson told Key103.

"I don't know where all these things come from. The boy is always in the spotlight and being addressed by the press. It is important how you handle it in my experience.

"But it just runs off me. It doesn't mean anything."

It is expected Rooney will feature against West Brom tomorrow, whilst Ferguson will expect a bombardment of questions on Tuesday when he faces the media ahead of the Champions League clash with Bursaspor.

At least he has dealt with the issue of Owen Hargreaves, who is not in contention to face the Baggies despite the statement of his knee surgeon Dr Richard Steadman earlier this week the midfielder was going to play.

Hargreaves is suffering from a minor calf complaint and Ferguson is clearly unimpressed with Steadman's interjection.

"Owen is not ready," said the United boss. "He is injured.

"He has missed training for the last few days.

"We are having difficulty with the doctor in Colorado coming out with statements that are not accurate.

"It is not fair to the player for him to say Owen is going to be playing tomorrow.

"It is ridiculous. I pick the team and I have been doing it for quite a while.

"We have this small interference, which is causing some confusion. He is out with a calf injury."

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