By Russell Stoddart
Manchester United legend Gordon McQueen has warned Wayne Rooney to stay away from Old Trafford on Friday evening or risk spoiling Rio Ferdinand’s testimonial party.
The wantaway striker has been the subject of two failed bids from Chelsea - the latest thought to total £30 million - while Goal exclusively revealed on Thursday that the England international has been told to train with the reserves until his future is resolved.
David Moyes takes charge of his first game at Old Trafford since succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson against Sevilla in the testimonial game on Friday, but there are fears that the party atmosphere could be soured by Rooney’s ongoing dispute.
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"If I was Wayne I’d stay as far away from Old Trafford as possible. I will be surprised if he’s anywhere near being on the team sheet.
"You can’t blame the fans for feeling frustrated with Wayne and his reluctance to pledge his future to the club.
"The fans have had to sit there and watch the ‘will he stay or will he go’ soap opera drag on all summer and now they might have their first chance to let Wayne know what they think.
"What really hurts United fans is that it appears Wayne wants to leave for one of their biggest rivals, Chelsea. They might be able to take him going to Real Madrid, Monaco or Paris Saint-Germain, but not another club in England.
"While Rio will get a marvellous reception, Wayne will get the opposite. It’s very sad because they’ve been two great servants to the club for the past decade.
"I know he’s supposed to be carrying a niggle, but under normal circumstances it shouldn’t stop him being available to playing some part in Rio’s testimonial, it should be about paying your respects to your team-mate.
"My guess is that David might save him for the bench against Wigan in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday. At least it will avoid any embarrassment on Rio’s big night."
McQueen offered his full backing to Moyes and believes the way he has gone about pre-season has been impressive.
He added: "Every fan I’ve spoken to is pleased with the choice of new manager.
"He will get a great reception from the fans and that should give him a huge boost because it doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve achieved in the game, you need to know that you’ve got the fans on your side.
"We all know it will be impossible to fill Sir Alex’s boots, but everything he has said and done so far has been impressive.
"Of course we’d all like Wayne to stay, but it looks like he’s got his heart set on leaving and there isn’t much David can do about that."