Alex Ferguson, the manager of Manchester United, may keep troubled star Wayne Rooney out of the starting line-up until well-after Christmas, he announced this weekend.

After an agonizing wrangle to keep Rooney at the club, even after the Liverpudlian publicly cheeked his manager, Ferguson seems to be re-exerting his influence over the player by keeping him benched for months.

Though Rooney stated he wanted to play every week, Ferguson said that “It may be five weeks before Rooney's comeback because he will have to pick up his fitness again. I would think five weeks would be about right.

“There is no chance of the Manchester City game on November 10 coming into the equation. You want any player who has been out a few weeks to be 100 per cent and not breaking down. That is what happened to Ryan Giggs a couple of weeks ago.”

Rooney, 25, is now the highest paid player in the club’s history, which will make the time on the sidelines even more pronounced.

And after Rooney criticized the club’s ambition and its recruitment policy, Ferguson has also pointedly stated that he alone is in control of buying and selling players at Manchester United.

“We won't be buying in January, definitely not,” Ferguson said. “You are limited because there are hundreds of players cup-tied for European football. There will be five months of the season left and we will be getting a new player back in February with Antonio Valencia returning from injury, and maybe another in Owen Hargreaves. With the squad I've got, I don't see any reason for us to buy anyone.”