Wayne Rooney says Alex Ferguson 'got out' of Man United 'as quick as he could'
"Alex Ferguson knew which way the club was going."
Wayne Rooney has suggested that Alex Ferguson knew Manchester United were in decline when he retired in 2013. The former Man United and England captain makes the comments in Rooney, the new Amazon Prime documentary, about his life and career to date.
Rooney says that his former manager "got out of there as quick as he could", referring to his retirement in 2013.
Wayne Rooney: Alex Ferguson left Man United 'as quick as he could'.
"If you look, five years down the line from that meeting, Alex Ferguson knew which way the club was going and he got out of there as quick as he could," Rooney says.
"And they're still picking up the pieces now."
Rooney is correct in saying that Man United are still struggling to find their way almost nine years after Ferguson stepped down as manager. However, the suggestion that the Scot made a hasty departure appears to be misjudged.
Given that Ferguson had originally planned to retire in 2002, and he was 71 when he eventually walked away, it could be argued that he did anything but make a hasty exit from Old Trafford.
Ferguson arguably picked the perfect time to retire, but the club botched the transition.
Wayne Rooney and Alex Ferguson dispute in 2010.
Meanwhile, the meeting that Rooney refers to took place in 2010 between the player and Ferguson. The current Derby County manager questioned Man United's ambitions in the transfer market and said he wanted to leave.
"We sold (Carlos) Tevez and then we sold (Cristiano) Ronaldo," Rooney said in the documentary.
"So, I was the one player left with a high profile. I went into Alex Ferguson's office, and I said to him, 'What's the plan here? At the minute we've brought in two young English players who are unproven'.
"I remember Alex Ferguson's response was, 'Get out of my office'."
Rooney, who soon changed his mind and signed a new deal, says his decision to question Ferguson and Man United wasn't about money. He simply wanted to keep winning the sport's biggest trophies.
"They were offering me a contract of £200,000 a week," he says.
"It would have been quite easy for me to say, 'Five years, £200,000 a week, let me sign it now'. But I wanted success on the pitch. That means more to me."
Ferguson and Rooney.
The pair were not on great terms when the Scot retired in 2013. For his last home match as manager, Ferguson dropped Rooney and said after the game that the player wanted to leave Man United. Rooney later denied that he had asked to leave the club.
The former Everton striker remained at Old Trafford for another four years, but the dispute appears to have left a mark on the relationship between the player and his manager. In the new documentary, there is also one notable absentee from the list of contributors.
David Beckham, Gary Neville and Rio Ferdinand, David Moyes, Jose Mourinho and Sven Goran Eriksen all speak about the former England captain. Even Thierry Henry, who played against Rooney for Arsenal, Barcelona and France, makes an appearance.
Yet, Rooney's manager for nine years was not interviewed for the documentary. Rooney played over 400 games under Ferguson, but we only hear from the Scot via archive footage and he does not contribute to the film and speak about the player.
According to unconfirmed reports, Rooney 'did not want' Ferguson to be interviewed for the documentary. As neither man has commented on the situation, it is not clear exactly why Ferguson did not contribute.
What is clear, however, is that Man United have floundered in the years after the pair left. They may not have always seen eye to eye, but Rooney and Ferguson experienced some of the best days of their careers together.