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20/10/2010 11:00

Papers: Manager nails the myths

Paul Hayward writes in The Guardian...

Ferguson's stance poses questions about Rooney's attitude
There are still times in his 24 years as Manchester United manager when Sir Alex Ferguson peels his jacket off for a fight. Challenged the way he has been by Wayne Rooney and his camp, he reverts to survival mode. In his thoughts he returns to the streets of Govan. This conflict was not one he invited. But such has been the level of provocation from his rebellious star that Ferguson was forced to go on the counter to protect his own standing with the club's owners and supporters. His dissection of Rooney's mutinous conduct was about as good as daytime television is ever likely to get. Some detected a wounded air about Ferguson at a riveting press briefing in Manchester. Some thought he seemed sad - beaten, even - as if an ungrateful 24-year-old had shattered his beliefs about what a Manchester United player should be, and how he ought to behave. The word is that any sorrow Ferguson displayed stems from his conviction that he had helped and protected his star through many a personal convulsion and red card brouhaha and was now being repaid with a kind of contempt. But equally he was in snorting political form. The alternative strategy would have been to excoriate the first journalist bold enough to ask what was going on. Instead he came armed with a speech that nailed several damaging myths and cast Rooney as a mercenary with no regard for United's health.

Also in today's newspapers...

There is a wealth of reaction to Sir Alex's press conference - "the performance of his life" (Oliver Holt, Daily Mirror) - and his frank MUTV interview. There's also speculation as to who could replace Rooney if he goes - "Manchester United eye January swoop for Torres" (Telegraph) - and the Mirror's claim that Sunderland's Jordan Henderson could "spark a £15m-plus auction" between the Reds and Manchester City.

Round Up By Adam Bostock


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