Rooney: My future is at United
Rooney is set to make his first start for nearly two months in Wednesday night's Champions League tie with Rangers at Ibrox. It will also be the first time he has started since that stunning week in October which began with claims that he wanted to leave Old Trafford and ended with him signing a five-year contract. There have been claims in the meantime that Rooney has fallen out with a number of his team-mates and, after he was pictured smoking on holiday with wife Coleen in Dubai, it has been suggested the new contract is only a way for United to maximise their return on the 25-year-old should they decide to sell at the end of the season. It is an assertion Rooney refutes entirely. "I read that I have agreed a new deal so that the club can agree a higher price with a different team somewhere down the line," the England forward said in an exclusive interview with MUTV. "It is a load of rubbish. I signed a new deal to stay here for the long-term future with Manchester United." Rooney received a mixed reception at Old Trafford on Saturday when he made his comeback from an ankle injury as a second-half substitute against Wigan. Whether perceptions amongst the doubters will change if Rooney starts scoring again remains to be seen. It does however seem his reputation has been damaged, even if he claims it was not his fault. "I would be lying if I said I wasn't worried about the reaction from the fans," he said. "I can understand their frustrations with the contract negotiations. "It happened in the public eye, which made it difficult, and I did make the club aware of my concerns. "The media also made a big thing of it (Dubai) but it's happened in the past, it was just the time it came out. "But I always made it aware I wanted to be at this club and I am delighted my future is at United." There was no apology, as manager Sir Alex Ferguson stated was Rooney's intention when he signed his new contract, just a desire to start scoring goals again, which he has not done in open play for United since March. It was quite extraordinary that Rooney should suffer a debilitating ankle injury at the exact point that Ferguson was giving his emotional speech about the player not receiving the best advice immediately before a Champions League clash with Bursaspor. The Dubai trip was part of the recovery plan, followed by an intensive week of conditioning work in Oregon, which Jonny Evans insists was not an effort to get Rooney away from his irate team-mates. "You read that he has fallen out with team-mates but there has been none of that whatsoever," said the Northern Ireland star. "It has just carried on as normal. He is a big character in the changing room and he is always bubbly. "He has always had that desire to win and is a fantastic player. That is not just going to go away. "Last year his form was outstanding with the amount of goals he got. Hopefully he can bring that back to the team." Indeed, Sir Alex Ferguson is counting this as a fresh start after a disappointing early season that also included allegations about Rooney's private life. "Absolutely," Ferguson said. "There is no question about that. "His fitness is good. He needs that football training which he has not had a lot of, but he is getting there and this is an ideal opportunity for him in the sense of getting back to the level we know he is capable of. "Maybe it will take two or three games, but they will help to get him back as quick as we can. "This is a high-profile match, on a terrific pitch, in a great stadium with a terrific atmosphere. "All the signs are plus ones, particularly for a player of Wayne's ability."