Alex Ferguson is confident new signing Wayne Rooney can handle the pressures – both on and off the pitch – of playing for Manchester United.
“We have a good reputation for looking after young players here,” said Ferguson.
“We are professional and I don’t see that as a problem. For me, dealing with players has always been a black and white issue. Whenever you have to speak to a player about an issue, he is either doing the right thing or doing the wrong thing.
“We have to look after all the players and Wayne will get the same advice and protection as anyone else. But the most important thing is that dressing room of ours which is a security in itself, people like Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, the Nevilles and Ryan Giggs are all mature stable professionals and that’s the best of all.
“Wayne will see these players and see how they have grown into how they are today and it’s not by accident.”
Rooney responded: “The manager hasn’t had to say anything to me about how I should behave off the pitch. As a professional footballer I should know, and I do know how to handle myself.
“No one has to tell me how to behave on and off the pitch because I know.
“Over the last year I think I have matured a lot on and off the pitch which I think you have to really because there are a lot of people trying to bring you down, but you just have to ignore it and get on with things.
“Obviously the spotlight is going to be on me a bit more because I have signed for one of, if not the, biggest clubs in the world and I think I am big enough and strong enough to handle that.”
Ferguson has warned Rooney not to expect to walk straight into the side.
“Last year I said we had to start rebuilding Manchester United because we had had some great success with a group of players who were reaching 29 or 30 and we never let a team get too old,” Ferguson added.
“Wayne understands, like Ryan Giggs did and like Ronaldo does, that he is a young lad and we won’t be asking him to climb a mountain tomorrow. The important thing is that he is a major player in five years time and not tomorrow.
“There is always big danger with young players that we ask too much from them too early. We want them to mature as easily as they can and it didn’t do Ryan Giggs any harm or the rest of our young players to take each step slowly and then by the time they are in their mid-20’s they are top players.”