LONDON: David Gill was voted on to the UEFA executive committee in London on Friday but his new role does not prevent him taking a continuing interest in Manchester United.
Gill leaves United this summer after a decade as chief executive but will be back as a fan next season and expects to see Wayne Rooney still wearing the Premier League champions’ red shirt.
Rooney, upset at being sidelined too often this past season by now-retired Sir Alex Ferguson, handed in a transfer request shortly before the end of the season. But that was before Ferguson had announced his retirement and the appointment of David Moyes as successor.
Moyes was the manager who gave the teenage Rooney his opportunity at Everton and Gill believes that Moyes will draw on his knowledge of the 27-year-old to persuade Rooney to stay.
Gill said “every bit of work” was being done to prolong the England international’s nine-year stay at Old Trafford. He has two years remaining on his contract and has been linked with a possible move to Paris Saint-Germain.
However Gill added: “I’m confident Wayne Rooney will be there next season. I think he’s a great, great player at a great, great club and the club doesn’t want to lose its star player.
“I’m sure every bit of work is being taken with Wayne and his advisers to ensure that happens. I’m not a betting man but I’m confident I’ll sit at Old Trafford next season and see Wayne Rooney running out.”
Liverpool-born Rooney agreed a five-year contract running to June 2015 after changing his mind over leaving the club in October 2010. His major challenge may be making peace with the fans who jeered him during United’s celebratory bus tour of Manchester at the campaign’s end.
Two men will be leaving United, however.
Ferguson’s former assistant Mike Phelan and goalkeeping coach Eric Steele have both been released in the first major changes effected by Moyes.
A former United player, Phelan came back to Old Trafford as a youth team coach in 1999, and was promoted to Sir Alex Ferguson’s backroom team two years later, replacing Carlos Queiroz as assistant in 2008.
Steele was installed as goalkeeping coach in 2008 as replacement for Tony Coton, who was forced to retire due to injury. His departure is more of a surprise than that of Phelan. Steele has been credited with the enormous improvement made by Spanish keeper David De Gea over the last 12 months.
United can afford the contract severance pay. This past season they earned a record £60.8m in domestic TV revenue, more than any other club.
TV revenue totals:
Man Utd £60.8m, Man City £58.1m, Arsenal £57.1m, Tottenham £55.8m, Chelsea £55m, Liverpool £54.8m, Everton £51.7m, West Ham £48.7m, West Brom £48.3m, Swansea £47.6m, Norwich £46.1m, Fulham £45.3m, Newcastle £45.1m, Aston Villa £44.9m, Stoke £44.5m, Southampton £43.8m, Sunderland £43.4m, Wigan £40.8m, Reading £40m, QPR £39.8m.
** Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has signed a one-year contract extension taking him through to 2017.