David Moyes has told José Mourinho that Wayne Rooney is not for sale after the Chelsea manager said the Manchester United striker was a "player I like very much". Moyes also refused to be drawn on whether the unsettled Rooney should issue a public statement to make clear his future.
Speaking at Bangkok's Rajamangala National Stadium where Moyes takes charge of United's opening pre-season tour match on Saturday against the Singha All Star XI, the Scot was asked about Mourinho's comments. "Unless I was speaking double Dutch last week, we said Wayne Rooney is not for sale," said Moyes.
Earlier Mourinho, talking at the team hotel in Bangkok where Chelsea are also embarking on their own tour, the Portuguese was asked if Rooney would become a Chelsea player this summer. "It's a funny, tricky question from an ethical point of view as I can't talk about players from other teams," he said. "But it is not my character to speak with hypocrisy, I always tell what I see. He's a player that I like very much. Being fast and direct I like him very much, but he's a Manchester United player."
Moyes was calm about the Chelsea coach discussing Rooney. "People are entitled to talk about good players. I'm getting asked plenty of questions about Wayne," he said. "José has been asked about players as well. It's hard to keep repeating myself but I will – Wayne is a Manchester United player and it will remain that way. I think José said, in his comments, that he doesn't normally talk about other players. But it does happen."
When it was put to Moyes that, as Rooney has said nothing publicly regarding his future, he should do so then the matter would close, the 50-year-old said: "I think I've covered all of the things on Wayne. I've given you everything about his injury. What you must remember is that Manchester United is a football club and I've got a team, and this is not about any one individual. In many ways, I'm only interested in the team. I will answer questions on Wayne, but some of them are just reverting back to things I've covered."
Rooney was sent home from the tour after a scan revealed a slight tear to his hamstring, with the Liverpudlian having complained of it being tight in the final training session before United flew to Thailand.
Writing on Facebook, Rooney said: "Gutted to have picked up a niggling injury especially as training was going so well, heading back to Manchester to have it assessed fully but early indications are nothing to worry about."
Moyes said: "It's a blow that we've lost him because he's been training well and looking very good. But unfortunately he just felt something in his hamstring.
"We did a check and found a slight grade one injury there, which will probably keep him out for about two to three weeks. So I don't foresee any problem with Wayne starting the season and being fit for then.
"He didn't train the last little bit [in Manchester]. He just felt his hamstring tighten, so we pulled him out and didn't think anything of it. It was only when we got here we knew we weren't going to train him yesterday, and we thought, as a precaution, we would check it out.
"When we went to check it we saw a small grade one [tear]. We could maybe have taken him on to all the other places, but he couldn't have played the games. So for the benefit of the player the best thing to do was to get him home straight away and quickly into his rehabilitation. We didn't expect it. But what would be the point in taking any risks? There's no point in taking any risks."
Moyes is not concerned that Rooney, who benefits most from a hard pre-season, will lose valuable time training. "Remember, when we return from this tour we've still got games in Stockholm, Rio's testimonial and the Community Shield, so he can play in those games," the manager said. "It's important we get players fit for those games. We'll keep his work up. We'll keep his work up back in Manchester. With a hamstring injury he can do lots of work in the swimming pool, some work in the gym. And I have to say he was in really good shape when he came back. He was at a good fighting weight."
Moyes would not be drawn on Barcelona's Thiago Alcântara, to whom Bayern Munich appear to have beaten United for his signature. "I never said at any time that he was [a target]," he said. "We're on with targets that we are chasing at this moment in time. At this moment in time and there are people we are actively chasing. At this moment in time we're happy with how things are going."
Regarding Nemanja Vidic who is not on tour due to a back problem, Moyes said: "He's doing fine. He's having an injection and he's on a course of injections to help his sciatica. If he improves then we'd consider bringing him out later on. The one thing we don't want to do is make it any worse by flying him halfway around the world. So we have to consider that. Nani had an operation on his nose to clear a bit of breathing. At the moment we're not sure if flying is allowed so that's the one downside. We'll have to wait and see."