Wayne Rooney, the Manchester United and England striker, has admitted for the first time that his childish and petulant outburst in the media last week, and his subsequent refusal to sign a new contract, were staged exclusively for public consumption, and to 'up the ante' on a new deal.
Rooney, 25 on Sunday, told guests at his birthday party that he had only been joking, and laughed that:
The player had two days earlier signed a lucrative £80million five-year contract with the Reds, who only last week he had dubbed "unambitious" and "unable to attract top names".
They certainly showed him, didn't they?!
Sir Alex Ferguson, who assumed a position directly behind his striker in the latter's Birthday Conga, said:
"Och, it was all juss a joke! There's no grudges. Me and the lad are the best o' pals! Mind you, it was touch-and-fucken-go for a minute until we started talking ridiculous money!"