Premier League

Ferguson confirms Rooney request

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Sun, 12 May 2013 20:35:00

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew breathed a sigh of relief after his side finally ensured Premier League safety with a 2-1 victory over QPR at Loftus Road.

The Magpies fell behind to a debatable 11th-minute Loic Remy penalty but replied through Hatem Ben Arfa's spot-kick and Yoan Gouffran's strike after a defensive mix-up by Rangers.

"I'm very pleased. It was a very important game for this football club. Particularly this year with the extra finance of staying in the Premier League," Pardew said.

"I thought the first 10 minutes we were almost playing with a noose around our neck we were so tense and tight and it took a decision by the referee.

"I don't really care if Arsenal win 4-0 [next weekend], If I'm honest, I'm sure Spurs will - but I only care that our fans enjoy themselves."

Pardew once again hit out at suggestions over the last month that his squad had been divided within the dressing room and was pleased with the spirit shown by his players against QPR.

"The accusations have been so ridiculous," he added.

"You don't get a draw at West Brom and West Ham and a win here today if you've got rifts going on.

"Their penalty looked a bit dubious to me and I thought ours looked dubious but once that went in I thought we settled down on a difficult pitch and played quite well.

"But we showed a real determination and resilience today to get the job done, for not just this club but for the north east.

"It's massive for north-east football that we are a Premier League club so I'm absolutely delighted for our fans and players."

Ferguson, taking charge of United for the final time at Old Trafford before retiring, dropped a bombshell by leaving Rooney out of the matchday squad.

And later he gave his reasons, telling Sky Sports: "I don't think Wayne was keen to play simply because he had asked for a transfer.

"He wants to think it through in his mind, which is a good idea."

Although Ferguson is standing down, to be replaced by Everton boss David Moyes, he insisted Rooney would not be allowed to leave the Barclays Premier League champions.

"We are not going to let him go but he is a little bit frustrated at being taken off once or twice in the last few weeks."

It will be down to Moyes, who sold Rooney to United in 2004, to sort the situation out, which does not promise to be easy.

Boos from Red Devils supporters when the 27-year-old stepped forward to collect his fifth championship-winning medal indicated the rank and file support are not too impressed with the conduct of a player who very publicly asked for a move in 2010.

However, former United defender Gary Neville, working today as a television pundit but whom, later this month, will become Rooney's coach for England friendlies against Republic of Ireland and Brazil, said the striker needed to sort himself out.

"Wayne is an emotional lad and you can see in the last couple of months he hasn't quite been himself," said Neville.

"Wayne Rooney wears his heart on his sleeve. He fights every refereeing decision. But he has been a bit vacant on the pitch. You can see something is wrong.

"But there is nowhere to go from here. I have seen players join Real Madrid and other great clubs in Europe. But they always want to come back.

"If you play for this club for 20 years it is not a bed of roses. You struggle mentally at times. He will be going through a difficult moment.

"But in a couple of weeks he will be coming away with England. Then he needs to have the summer off and hopefully get his head back to being a Manchester United player."

Neville feels Rooney's family, and agent Paul Stretford, have a crucial role to play over the next few weeks.

"This is a good kid," said Neville.

"He needs to surround himself with his family and his players. The ones who have been here for a long time will bring him round.

"He is not someone who will make rash decisions but he needs people around him to give him good advice. He has an agent and friends. They need to be giving him the right advice.

"This is the only club he should be playing at."

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