LONDON (Reuters) - Everton manager Sam Allardyce said Wayne Rooney has not asked to leave the club but admitted there have been negotiations over a possible move to DC United in the MLS.
Speaking at a press conference, Allardyce said on Friday he expected to find out more when he spoke to Rooney later in training and that he would be “comfortable” if any player wanted to move on.
Sky Sports later reported that Rooney left Everton’s training ground while the rest of the squad continued to prepare for Sunday’s game with West Ham United.
The former England captain has been the subject of intense speculation over the past few days with multiple British media reports claiming that a deal had been agreed “in principle” for him to move to the United States in the summer following a difficult season at Everton in which he has struggled for game time under Allardyce.
“Wayne Rooney has not asked to leave, nor has he had a confrontation with me because we are adults,” said Allardyce.
“My understanding is that there has been some negotiations. As to clarity of whether Wayne is leaving or staying I’ll find out when he comes in for training today.
“I don’t get involved in transfers or negotiations. All I know is there is interest - where Wayne lies with it I can’t tell you at the moment. If the player wants to leave - if any player does - I’m comfortable with it.
“But I don’t want to make a headline ‘Sam says Rooney can leave’ - I mean if any player wants to leave he can leave,” Allardyce added.
Allardyce was also asked about media reports suggesting that Rooney has asked for guarantees over playing time next season should he say at Goodison Park.
The former England captain was visibly annoyed at being substituted just after halftime in successive games against Manchester City and Liverpool a few weeks ago.
“How can anyone be guaranteed playing time next season?” asked Allardyce. “It’s up to the player to put their game together on a consistent basis every week and keep their place in the team.
“He’s (Rooney’s) had a difficult time since last summer but we’ve all come through that, Wayne included. Wayne is so level-headed. He’s never got carried away and that’s why he’s played so well and achieved so much.”
Allardyce’s own situation is also uncertain following supporter unrest at recent performances but the 63-year-old showed every intention of staying at the club next season.
“I have a contract — a one-year contract. Until someone tells me I’m no longer wanted then I have a contract. That’s it. Next season is already planned. It’s done, it’s there,” he said.
“I think recruitment is the start of the process to try and achieve a top six challenge. The next level of recruitment has to be quality players who get into the team and make them better than they are at this moment in time.”
Reporting by Neil Robinson; editing by Pritha Sarkar