New Birmingham City boss Wayne Rooney has called rumours of his reported salary “a load of rubbish” as he prepares for his first game in charge.
It has been reported that Rooney, who turns 38 next week, is earning £1.5m a year – three times as much as predecessor John Eustace.
Rooney’s first game for Blues is against ex-team-mate Michael Carrick and his Middlesbrough side on Saturday.
“There’s lots of stuff, especially with it being me,” he told BBC Radio WM.
“I understand that. There’s lot of rumours which go round, but what’s been out there is a load of rubbish, to be honest.
“As I said last week I came here because I really like the project.
“I’ve turned down jobs which would have paid a lot more but I’ve come here because I want to be successful. And I want to get this club back to the Premier League.
“But, as for some of the rumours, I just don’t get involved with it.”
Rooney allowed himself a wry smile that his first game should be against Carrick, with whom he played alongside more than any other Manchester United player in their time at Old Trafford.
“Michael’s a good friend of mine,” he said. “And he’s doing a fantastic job at Middlesbrough. I’m pleased for him in that respect.
“We spoke early last week, but we then said we’d get this game out of the way and speak again after.
“To come up against him first time is great but we both want to win.
“I’m looking forward to seeing him. But, over the 90 minutes, it’s Middlesbrough v Birmingham City – and we’ll both be doing our best to win the match.”
Rooney says that any trip to Teesside is never easy, especially not now last season’s beaten play-off semi-finalists Boro have got over their poor start to win four games on the bounce.
Carrick also has the edge of being able to claim he is a former Birmingham City employee, having made a couple of appearances in a royal blue shirt on loan from West Ham United under Trevor Francis in February 2000.
Despite the interruption of his first week in charge being international week, Rooney is content with his first few days on the training ground in Henley-in-Arden.
“We’ve had a few players away,” he said. “And Juninho Bacuna is not back until Friday.
“But the lads have shown a great attitude. We’ve worked on tactics and I’m happy with how the lads have taken to it.
“They’re open to the changes we’re trying to make.”
Like their opponents, sixth-placed Birmingham are in good form themselves. Although they have suffered three straight away defeats, they won their past two, both at home, scoring seven times in the process, in the days leading up to the departure of Eustace.
Wayne Rooney was talking to BBC Radio WM’s Richard Wilford.