Football: Rooney will still be a Manchester United player next year, says Ferguson

MANCHESTER (AP) - Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has dismissed widespread speculation that Wayne Rooney could leave the English Premier League football club at the end of the season.

Rooney was dropped to the bench for Tuesday's Champions League match against Real Madrid, the team's biggest game of the season, sparking stories in the British media that the England striker might be sold.

However, Ferguson said on Friday that Rooney "will be here next year, you have my word on that".

The manager said there is "no issue between myself and Wayne Rooney - to suggest we don't talk is nonsense", and maintained his decision to leave the striker out against Madrid was tactical.

He said the player would be involved in United's FA Cup quarter-final against Chelsea on Sunday.