Wayne Rooney has finally apologised to the Manchester United fans for the way his transfer negotiations were conducted last month - and claimed there was never the remotest possibility he would have left for Manchester City.
Although Sir Alex Ferguson claimed Rooney had said sorry to his team-mates and intended to do the same to the fans when he ended a turbulent week by signing a five-year deal last month, three opportunities to make good that promise have not been taken.
Following his matchwinning penalty at Rangers, Rooney offered his apology, before revealing the speculation about a move to City was well wide of the mark, saying: "I feel like I have apologised to the fans but everyone keeps saying that I haven't. If that is the case, then I apologise for my side of things."
He added: "I have made my point clear since I signed my contract that I am committed to this club for the long term. I want to be successful here. Everyone is saying that I was definitely going to Manchester City. Believe me if I had gone it wouldn't have been in England."
For two or three days, it appeared certain a move would have to be arranged as the ill-feeling towards Rooney grew. Even since the dispute was resolved, Sir Alex Ferguson has been critical of Rooney's trusted advisor Paul Stretford.
Yet the 25-year-old now acknowledges that leaving Old Trafford could have been the biggest mistake of his career.
"Of course," he said. "You see so many players leave this club and not do so well so I am delighted to have stayed."
The process seemed amazingly simple. Unhappy about the future direction United were heading under the Glazer ownership, Rooney wanted assurances standards would not be allowed to fall. It is only strange the process should have got so far before they were given.
"I spoke with the manager and (chief executive) David Gill. They reassured me the club was moving forward and from that it took maybe two or three hours to negotiate my contract and sign it," revealed the England forward.
"It wasn't a distraction to my football because I haven't played that much but it was a distraction overall. I am just happy it is all over now. I want to put it behind me and look forward."
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