Michael Owen believes it would be a shock if former team-mate Wayne Rooney was to leave Manchester United.
It was confirmed on Tuesday that Chelsea had made a bid for the England international, which was duly rejected by the Premier League champions.
Rooney is said to be unhappy at comments made by new manager David Moyes in relation to his status in the United first-team.
Owen played with Rooney during his three-year spell at Old Trafford between 2009 and 2012 and, although he understands Rooney’s frustration, does not think the 27-year-old will leave.
“At the height of my career, I wouldn’t have been too happy being on the bench a lot of the time, I would have wanted to be playing all the time,” Owen told talkSPORT.
“He’s still only 27, he’s still a world-class player and I’m sure he won’t want to be sitting on the bench.
“That’s his decision and you’re options change as your fitness changes and your age changes or whatever it might be, but he’s in his prime, it’s a World Cup year, he won’t want to be sat waiting around on the bench so it remains to be seen whether that will be the case.
“I would be surprised if he left Manchester United but I can understand him wanting to play every game at his age.”
United brought Robin van Persie to the club before the start of last season, a move that proved instrumental in securing the Premier League title.
However, Owen intimated that the transfer may have had a negative impact on Rooney.
“I think this has been brewing for a little while,” he added.
“When Robin van Persie first signed, maybe Wayne wasn’t feeling as if he was the top man anymore and when you’re a player of his calibre then you need to feel wanted to produce your best.
“You need to be the one that everyone counts on to score the goals and when he was dropped by Sir Alex for the Real Madrid game last year that would have hurt his pride and everything else. I think we’re seeing a knock-on effect of that now.”