Sir Alex Ferguson Blames Bad Advice From Agent For Wayne Rooney's Contract Saga & Says Player Knows He Made A Mistake

Veteran boss feels modern times have softened players
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson believes Wayne Rooney knew he had made a mistake not to sign a new contract after the criticism he received when he revealed that he would be leaving Old Trafford.

The striker last month indicated that he would be leaving the club after failing to be given assurances that the side would be strengthened, but a dramatic turnaround unfolded two days later when the player signed a new five-year deal.

Ferguson was pleased that the England international had realised that going public with the threat was not a good idea after he received vitriolic criticism from supporters angered by his initial decision to leave.

And the Manchester United boss believes that the advice given to the striker was not in his best interests, pointing to agent Paul Stretford as the instigator of the unrest.

"You don't necessarily have to heed advice after listening to it," Ferguson said at a sports conference in Qatar.

"Some young people take bad advice. He has an agent who is not the most popular man in the world and he obviously sold it to Wayne to ask away. The boy rushed in.

"But the minute he heard the response of the public and our supporters he changed his mind - he knew he'd made a mistake.

"There's nothing wrong with that as long as you recognise it. He immediately apologised and agreed a new contract within a couple of hours.

"It wasn't done to get the contract; I don't think that for a minute. But maybe he should have listened to better advice."

Ferguson now hopes that Rooney can rediscover his best form after sending the player to the USA in a bid to regain sharpness.

"We want to get Wayne back to his best," said Ferguson.

"He's had a good week in the States and we've got him to the point where we want him to be in terms of accelerating his fitness. Is he ready to get into the first team? We'll have to assess that when I get back."

Ferguson has admitted that he has reined in his behaviour over the years, but he still does not hesitate to give his players a rollicking if he is required to do so and concedes that he feels out of touch with modern footballers' lifestyles.

"I've mellowed a great deal," he said. "The world has changed and so have players' attitudes.

"I'm dealing with more fragile human beings than I used to be. They are cocooned by modern parents, agents, even their own image at times.

"They need to be seen with their tattoos and earrings. It is a different world for me so I have had to adapt.

"There is nothing wrong with losing your temper if it's for the right reasons, but I never leave it until the next day, I do not believe in that.

"Some managers wait till Monday when they say things are calmer but I want to let it go after the game because I am already planning for the next one. Once I let it go, it has finished and I do not bring it up again. I don't wait till tomorrow."

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