Manchester United manager-to-be David Moyes has heaped praise on Wayne Rooney ahead of crunch talks over the striker's Old Trafford future. Follow GOAL.COM on Twitter
Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed on Sunday that the England international handed in a transfer request earlier this month after becoming disillusioned with his role at the club, but it was swiftly rejected.
Moyes and Rooney are set to meet in the coming days to clarify the 27-year-old's future with the club but, ahead of those talks, the current Everton boss has hailed the talents of the player he nurtured at Goodison Park.
"Wayne Rooney was and is an exceptional talent," Moyes told reporters. "When we sold him to Manchester United, he was fantastic. When he left Everton, he was already an outstanding player. Some of the things he used to do in training, we would stand back and look at each other, and say, 'How did he do that?’ You would see the staff exchange glances as if to say, 'Can you believe that?’
"He was brilliant, some of the stuff he did. He was football-mad – every training session he would run out, volleying the ball everywhere. He was just a really good 16-year-old footballer but the thing was, he could have left training and then gone out into the street and played with his pals and thought nothing of it.
"A lot of people use the terminology 'street footballer’ and I really think Wayne was the last of the classic street footballers. You could see him in the street, hitting the ball against the walls with his friends. Part of that culture has gone but, coming from Glasgow, I knew what it was like."
Rooney has developed a fractured relationship with the United supporters after news of a second transfer request in three years came to light and was booed during the title celebrations and end-of-season parade.
Arsenal and Chelsea have declared interest in Rooney's services, with Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich also monitoring the striker's situation.
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