Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic in praise for Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney and Nemanja Vidic are back in training. Photo: PA

Nemanja Vidic has claimed Wayne Rooney is in better shape than he has been in for five years.

Unsurprisingly, Rooney was the central topic of David Moyes' first media engagement since being confirmed as Sir Alex Ferguson's successor in May.

Moyes stated his intention to guide Rooney towards legendary status as a Manchester United player, yet could not offer any assurance the striker actually wants to stay.

However, unlike previous years, when, by his own admission, the 27-year-old has not returned for pre-season training in the greatest shape, this time around he is ready to go.

"Wayne is in the best shape I have seen him in the last five years," said Vidic.

"I haven't talked to Wayne about his future but I have seen him train extremely well over the last few days and am looking forward to him playing for the club and playing his best."

Whether that actually happens remains open to debate, if only because Moyes had to skirt around the issue, preferring instead to highlight what the 27-year-old could become.

"When I went down to the training ground, I looked at the pictures of the legends that have played for this club," said Moyes.

"I could see George Best, Denis Law, Bobby Charlton, Roy Keane and I thought Wayne isn't too far away from that.

"It's not too difficult to get the goals and he could be near to that.

"If he could do that he could be seen in the same light as those people."

Moyes has also challenged Rooney to get the 40 and 52 goals he still needs to equal Denis Law and Sir Bobby Charlton, the top two goalscorers in United history.

However, together with the soothing words and the cajoling, Moyes also made it perfectly clear United are not interested in letting him go.

"I've had several meetings with Wayne," said Moyes.

"I'm fortunate, I've known him since he was 16.

"He is not for sale. He's a Manchester United player and will remain a Manchester United player."

As Moyes knows only too well, such matters are not entirely in his control.

No matter what Rooney's views, which remain unknown despite having plenty of opportunity to clarify, the contractual situation is complicated.

He may be new in his role as chief executive but Ed Woodward would not require much experience to be aware once a player gets towards his final 12 months, their value plummets.

This time next year, United could not hope to get anything like the £25million they would expect to command as a transfer fee this summer if they sold to Chelsea, Arsenal, PSG or Barcelona, who have all been linked with Rooney.

In addition, there is the thorny problem of Ferguson's damning words, which at the very least will turn supporter opinion against the forward.