Manchester United manager-in-waiting David Moyes has praised Wayne Rooney as he prepares to deal with the England international’s desire to leave Old Trafford, ESPN FC understands.
Moyes, who sold Rooney to United in a £20 million deal in 2004, does not have the best of relationships with Rooney, who falsely accused the manager of leaking a story to the Liverpool Echo about his exit from Merseyside in his autobiography My Story So Far.
However, the successor to Sir Alex Ferguson was full of praise for Rooney in a speech at the Cambridge Union Society.
“Wayne Rooney was and is an exceptional talent,” said Moyes. “When we sold him to Manchester United, he was fantastic. When he left Everton, he was already an outstanding player.
“Some of the things he used to do in training, we would stand back and look at each other and say: ‘How did he do that?’ You would see the staff exchange glances as if to say: ‘Can you believe that?’
“He was brilliant, some of the stuff he did. He was football-mad – every training session he would run out, volleying the ball everywhere. He was just a really good 16-year-old footballer but the thing was, he could have left training and then gone out into the street and played with his pals and thought nothing of it.”
Moyes went on to dub Rooney “the last of the classic street footballers” as speculation mounts over his exit from United.
French moneybags Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with a summer move for the 27-year-old England international in recent weeks.
Despite his struggles to remain in the first-team at Old Trafford, Rooney — who was greeted by a number of boos at Manchester United’s victory parade — has bagged 12 goals and 10 assists in 27 league appearances for the Red Devils this season.
Bale reiterates desire to play abroad
Tottenham Hotspur ace Gareth Bale has restated his desire to move abroad in the future, but insisted he is fully focused on Spurs’ quest for UEFA Champions League qualification at the moment, according to ESPN FC.
Bale, 23, has been on scintillating form for Spurs this term, having been named PFA Players’ Player of the Year, PFA Young Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year.
The 23-year-old has been linked with summer moves to Bayern Munich, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid this season, and speculation will continue after the Wales international’s latest revelation.
“I have said in the past I would love to experience playing abroad,” Bale told Sky Sports. “You can never tell what the future holds, but at the moment I am concentrating on what I am doing here.
“It gets asked a lot at the moment, but it is something I am not thinking too much about at the moment. My mind is not wandering anywhere.”
However, as previously mentioned, Bale remains focused on achieving the goal set by Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas at the start of the season: Champions League qualification, and rightfully so.
“We have a job to do,” added the Welshman.
“We set a goal at the start of the season and we want to achieve it. Winning is a massive thing and playing against the best teams is what a footballer wants to do. Champions League is a massive thing. We have been there before, playing against the best teams in the biggest stadiums, testing ourselves.”
Bale has tallied 25 goals and 10 assists in 44 competitive appearances for Spurs, while adding four goals in six 2014 World Cup qualifying matches for Wales in 2012-13.