Troubled Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney has spoken out about what he describes as the Old Trafford club's "lack of ambition", and its apparent inability to attract world class players to Old Trafford.
His surprisingly eloquent comments suggest that he may not be the 'daft apeth' he had hitherto perceived to have been.
The 24-year-old, whose deal expires in the summer of 2012, revealed he had spoken to chief executive David Gill.
In a statement, Rooney said:
"He did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad."
He went on:
"For me it's all about winning trophies, which is what the club has always done under Sir Alex. Because of that I think the questions I was asking were completely justified. The fact that I have asked them, and nobody else has, indicates that, perhaps, that no other player had the balls to do so."
"Despite recent difficulties, I know I will always owe Sir Alex Ferguson a huge debt. He is a great manager and mentor who has helped and supported me from the day he signed me from Everton when I was only 18, and kicking a football around outside that chip shop."
"It is absolutely true, as Sir Alex has said, that my agent and I have had a number of meetings with the club about a new contract.
"During those meetings, in August, I asked for assurances about the continued ability of the club to attract the top players in the world. These were not forthcoming."
Rooney was full of glowing admiration for Ferguson, however, when he said:
"For Manchester United's sake, I wish he could go on for ever because he's a one-off and a genius."
Asked why he had, until now, portrayed himself as a village idiot, or, as people in Lancashire say, 'a daft apeth', Rooney looked sheepish, and droned: