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Everton’s Wayne Rooney has handed in a transfer request, a move which could pave the way for his departure to either Newcastle or Manchester United.

Manchester United are expected to make an increased bid on Friday after Newcastle saw their latest offer of £23.5m rejected.

Everton insisted Rooney make his request to leave Goodison Park formal before agreeing to his departure.

The 18-year-old England striker said: “I hope Everton’s fans will understand my decision.”

“The Euros were a fantastic experience for me. It made me realise I could play at the highest level.

“To do that I need to be with a club that is playing in Europe every year. I hope the Everton fans can come to understand my decision and I hope the transfer fee Everton Football Club receive will help the club move forward.

“The Everton fans have always been fantastic in their support of me. I hope they respect my decision and I also hope that some day in the future I could be welcomed back to watch the team I have supported since boyhood.”

Manchester United and Newcastle are competing for the signature of the 18-year-old striker.

Manchester boss Sir Alex Ferguson earlier revealed his desire to sign Rooney, while Newcastle remain confident of landing the player.

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