The relationship between Wayne Rooney and Manchester United which began with the starry-eyed 18-year-old being granted a personal tour of the Carrington training ground by Sir Alex Ferguson while a grinning Gary Neville tried to persuade him to buy one of his houses is drifting into a deep and irretrievable state of estrangement.

Manager David Moyes must now decide whether to force the striker to play against his will and face the music from fans in Rio Ferdinand’s testimonial at Old Trafford on Friday.

A shoulder injury which United yesterday revealed has prevented the 27-year-old from travelling to play in tonight’s pre-season friendly in Stockholm is not understood to be serious and is expected to keep Rooney out of training for only three or four days. The result of a collision during a behind-closed-doors training match against Real Betis it does appear to be a convenient way for the striker to keep himself out of the picture following United’s rejection on Sunday of a second Chelsea bid of £25m plus add-ons. Rooney asked to miss the Sweden trip.

An impression is also being given that Rooney’s relationship with some of the senior players in the United dressing room – Ferdinand Ryan Giggs and Patrice Evra – is becoming strained amid those players’ concerns that their pleas with him to stay at United have been ignored. The sense of a dressing-room rift serves Rooney well in his attempts to prove that his position at the club is untenable. He can shape his own position as one in which he has fans and team-mates against him with Ferguson now an ogre in the player’s mind as a spectre in the background. All good grounds to leave.

Rooney who has not started a game for United since the 1-1 draw at Arsenal on 28 April will probably try to avoid a potentially unpleasant encounter with supporters when Seville arrive for Ferdinand’s testimonial and in Sunday’s Community Shield match against Wigan Athletic at Wembley.