David Moyes could meet with Wayne Rooney on Wednesday for crucial discussions over the forward's future, as the Manchester United manager speaks to his squad individually for the first time before Thursday's opening day of pre-season training.
Moyes met Rooney around a month ago, before their respective summer breaks. During those talks the 27-year-old described to Moyes the reasoning for his discontent last season, pointing to how Sir Alex Ferguson played him out of position, dropped him at times, and questioned his fitness. Rooney also made clear his unhappiness at Ferguson's claim that he had asked for a transfer, which United accept he did not.
Moyes and Rooney agreed to meet again after their holidays to decide the best way forward. As Moyes plans to address his squad collectively at United's Carrington training ground on Wednesday, he may see Rooney then, before the club's busy pre-season begins.
On Friday Moyes may hold his first press conference as manager, though this is yet to be confirmed, before United fly to Bangkok next Wednesday to start a three-week tour that takes in Thailand, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong.
With the Singha All Stars on Saturday week providing the first opposition of Moyes's tenure and a chance for him to assess his squad in match conditions, his players will be keen to impress.
Rafael da Silva said: "The pre-season tours are a big part of preparation work for the new season. If you play well, you can put a thought in the manager's mind and maybe change his mind if you perhaps weren't in his plans for the first few games. The tour is a great experience for the young players and the older players like Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand are always really encouraging when we're away and help us a lot."
Tom Cleverley believes the champions will only be stronger for the three weeks away. "We have a great team spirit in the squad and I'd be surprised if there is a club with a better team spirit than ours," he said. "Everyone gets on and I think the tours can only help that.
"I've managed to score a few goals on tour [before]. It shows the manager what you can do and the fans also get to know your name. Most of all, being away with the squad helps you become comfortable around the first-team lads. For a few weeks, you change from being a reserve-team player to a first-teamer and you feel more comfortable.
"As a young player it can really help your development. I don't think any game is seen as not being important at this club. There's competition for places and, not only that, the rest of the players and the staff set such high standards that you constantly have to try and meet. Every game is taken really seriously and you're always trying to impress so you give it your all."
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image: © Audrey Pilato