David Moyes: Wayne Rooney's apology shows he is maturing into a true great

19 February 2010 07:23
Rooney, who completed an acrimonious £27 million move from Goodison Park to Old Trafford in 2004, returns to Everton in United red on Saturday with his two-goal performance against AC Milan in midweek earning comparisons with modern-day greats such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 24 year-old's departure from Goodison continues to rankle on Merseyside and he can expect the usual vilification from the Gwladys Street faithful. Rooney's previously broken relationship with Moyes is on the mend, however.

 Related ArticlesGlazers may go to Carling Cup finalEverton v Manchester Utd: previewGlass half full for ArtetaPienaar plays down Bayern linkMoyes rues away goal and Fellaini injuryFerguson: United play to Rooney's strengthsThe Everton manager accepted 'substantial' undisclosed libel damages in June 2008 when he sued Rooney, his co-author Hunter Davies and HarperCollins, the publishers of Wayne Rooney My Story So Far, following allegations that he leaked details of a confidential conversation with the player.

Yet Moyes, whose emergence as a candidate to succeed Ferguson when he retires at United could lead to him managing Rooney again, insists that any enmity between the two has evaporated.

Moyes said: "Wayne phoned me a year ago to apologise for his book and to say that the things he'd put in it were wrong and that he had made a mistake.

"I had to give him a lot of credit for that. For me, it showed his maturity and he thanked us for the help that had been given to him at Everton.

"The court case had been won anyway, so it was over as far as I was concerned, but I said to him: 'No problem, that's fine. It just shows the maturity and where you're coming to.'

"I got the impression it was something Wayne wanted to do, rather than someone suggesting it to him. It came across that he wanted to make the call and set things straight between us and I appreciated that. The maturity has come from the people around him as well, but also from the boy.

"Now he is the one who is sorting out the young players at United. Anyone who's stepping out of line, not doing it right, he's the one who's looking after them. Everybody gets a bit older and wiser."

Moyes, who admits that Rooney's emergence came "three or four years too early" for Everton, has been credited with setting the player on the road to stardom and the position he now holds at United.

The Scot predicts Rooney will become the best in the world in his late twenties, but he insists that his development is down the player more than anybody else.

Moyes said: "Nobody can take credit for Wayne's development. He is the last of the street players that used to be the rage when you go back to all the greats.

"You can see that in his physique, in his development, in his all-round football play. He had the potential to be a good player when he was here, but he's now turned into that good player and he is getting better and better.

"He could be one of the best in the world. I don't think that's the situation just now, but I think he's very close because he's beginning to show a maturity to his game, as a player and a person.

"I would welcome him back to Everton. We move on and, maybe some day, maybe at the end of Wayne's career, he might want to come back to play for Everton again. Who knows?

"The England captaincy? That could be the next part of his progress, maybe after the World Cup. Possibly the next period could be his time."

Source: Telegraph