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Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010

Reports: Rooney wants out

MANCHESTER, England (AP) Wayne Rooney has reportedly told Manchester United that he wants to leave the Premier League club, although the club said speculation that the star striker will be sold in the January transfer window was "nonsense."

Several British newspapers — including the Guardian and Telegraph — reported on their websites Sunday night that Rooney has fallen out with Manchester United Alex Ferguson since allegations surfaced about the player's private life last month. The reports said Rooney has told the club he will not sign a new contract, which could force United to sell the striker before he becomes a free agent.

The Sunday Mirror first reported on the alleged rift.

Rooney, who joined United from boyhood club Everton in 2004 for more than £25 million ($40 million), has a contract with United until June 2012.

But while United chief executive David Gill said in July that he wanted Rooney to sign a new contract, that has yet to materialize.

United spokesman Phil Townsend said Sunday that "to suggest Wayne Rooney will be sold in January is nonsense." However, he would not comment on whether a transfer would be sanctioned at the end of the season in May.

Rooney directly contradicted Ferguson in public on Tuesday when he told reporters after England's match against Montenegro that he hadn't been struggling with an ankle injury — which the manager had cited as the reason he had missed previous club matches.

Rooney didn't play the first United game after he was alleged to have cheated on his wife with a prostitute, with Ferguson saying that he was sparing the player from abuse at former club Everton.

But he missed several more games, which Ferguson said was because of an ankle injury.

Ferguson then fueled talk of a rift by demoting Rooney to the bench for Saturday's match against West Brom.

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