Former Manchester United stalwart Gary Neville insists the club would be 'mad' to sell striker Wayne Rooney.
27-year-old Rooney is reportedly unsettled at Old Trafford and is believed to be keen to seek a new challenge after the goalscoring exploits of Robin van Persie saw his preferred role as a central striker greatly diminished last season.
Speculation surrounding his immediate future has intensified as the new campaign draws near, with many linking him with a potential move to Premier League title rivals Chelsea.
But Neville, who made enjoyed a glittering 19-year-career with the Red Devils before retiring in 2011, believes Rooney's track record suggests new manager David Moyes should endeavour to retain the services of his England star.
Manchester United, at this moment in time, would be mad to sell him. Along with Robin Van Persie, he has been the most successful player in terms of goals and assists in the last five years of the Premier League.
He told the Daily Mail: "Even last year, which you could argue was a year he was below his best, but he was playing in midfield, playing right side, left side, he still had 22 goals and assists.
"He is a massive contributor to games and you can’t replace personalities. There are very few personalities in football now, big personalities, fighters, he is one of them.
"I could argue in the last eight years, he has been the most important player in the Premier League. Why would I be over the top by stating that? He is one of the most successful players in the last eight years, won the most championships in that period, been an ever present, played in ever single game nearly every season."
Rooney has been at United for eight years, arriving from Everton in 2004 for a fee of more than £20 million. He has enjoyed sustained success during that period, winning five Premier League titles, a Champions League crown, two League Cups and a plethora of individual awards.
Rooney did not play a part in Manchester United's 2-1 Community Shield triumph over Championship outfit Wigan Athletic on Sunday, but has been included in Roy Hodgson's England squad for Wednesday's friendly against Scotland at Wembley
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