- Associated Press - Friday, October 22, 2010

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND (AP) - Wayne Rooney reversed course and agreed to a five-year contract with Manchester United on Friday, keeping him at the Premier League club until June 2015.

Rooney said this week that he did not intend to extend his deal beyond 2012 because he was unhappy that United hadn’t improved its roster. But he changed his mind after “intensive discussions” with the club.

“I’m delighted to sign another deal at United,” Rooney said in a statement released by United. “In the last couple of days, I’ve talked to the manager and the owners and they’ve convinced me this is where I belong.”

United manager Alex Ferguson said he was “delighted” Rooney had agreed to extend his contract.

“Sometimes, when you’re in a club, it can be hard to realize just how big it is and it takes something like the events of the last few days to make you understand,” Ferguson said in the statement. “I think Wayne now understands what a great club Manchester United is.

“It’s been a difficult week, but … I said to the boy that the door is always open.”

The 24-year-old Rooney, who is sidelined with an ankle injury, said he is determined to get back in United supporters’ favor. He added it was primarily Ferguson who persuaded him to remain at the 18-time English champions.

“I’m sure the fans over the last week have felt let down by what they’ve read and seen. But my position was from concern over the future,” Rooney said. “The fans have been brilliant with me since I arrived and it’s up to me through my performances to win them over again.”

Rooney joined United in 2004 for $41 million and helped the club to Premier League titles in 2007, ‘08 and ‘09. He also was a member of the side that won the Champions League in 2008.

Rooney’s representatives met with Ferguson and United chief executive David Gill on Thursday in a bid to resolve an issue that was sparked two days earlier when a “shocked” and “bemused” Ferguson revealed the striker wanted to quit Old Trafford.

Ferguson said Tuesday he did not understand the reasons behind Rooney’s decision. On Wednesday, Rooney released a statement detailing his concerns about the strength of United’s team. Rooney also claimed he had not been given any assurances by Gill about the club’s future.

Rooney’s play has dipped dramatically this season, and a newspaper reported allegations that he had repeatedly cheated on his then-pregnant wife with a prostitute.

Rooney’s relationship with Ferguson appeared to worsen when the player publicly contradicted claims by his manager that he had been struggling with an ankle injury this season.

“I’m sure everyone involved with the club will now get behind Wayne and show him the support he needs to produce the performances we know he is capable of,” Ferguson said.

Rooney has scored just one goal this season. He had 34 goals last season to earn the Premier League’s Soccer Player of the Year award.



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