LONDON, March 10 (Reuters) - Manchester United's England striker Wayne Rooney will be offered a new contract before his deal ends in 2015, the club's manager Alex Ferguson was quoted as saying by British media on Sunday.
"There is no issue with the contract. When it has to be renegotiated, it will be,' Ferguson said in The Mail on Sunday ahead of United's FA Cup quarter-final at home to Chelsea.
British media went into overdrive last week reporting that Rooney would be offloaded by Ferguson after he was left out of the starting lineup for United's biggest game of the season against Real Madrid in the Champions league on Tuesday.
The 27-year-old came off the bench in the 73rd minute but could not stop United losing 2-1 to exit the competition.
However, on Friday Ferguson dismissed speculation that Rooney's Old Trafford days were numbered, telling reporters: "He will be here next year, you've got my word on that."
Sunday's newspaper reports backed that up as Ferguson came to Rooney's defence and stressed his qualities, having said he was right to leave the forward out of their Champions League last 16, second leg at Old Trafford for tactical reasons.
"We don't want good players to leave. He (Rooney) is the (Paul) Gascoigne, the Bobby Charlton. He's the best English player. He's coming to his mature years," added the United boss.
"He's had a lot of issues this year in terms of illness, injuries and not had a long run of games, but he's still got me 14 goals. He'll end up with 20 goals, no doubt about that."
Ferguson said on Friday that Rooney would play a part against FA Cup holders Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday as they bid to join neighbours Manchester City in the semi-finals. (Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)