Former Manchester United assistant manager Steve McLaren expects striker Wayne Rooney to remain at Old Trafford despite claiming 'four or five clubs' could recruit the England international this summer.

Rooney was omitted from the United starting eleven for the Champions League last 16 second leg against Real Madrid, sparking reports the 27 year old could be surplus to requirements to the Theatre of Dreams.

But McLaren, the former England and FC Twente boss, who spent three seasons at United as assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson, during the club's treble winning campaign in 1999 and the 51 year old believes that Rooney will struggle to improve on his current standing with the Premier League leaders.

Steve McClaren and Wayne Rooney
McClaren says Rooney will stay at United.

"Sir Alex always says there is only one way to go after Manchester United, and that's down," McClaren said. "He's right, that's proved.

"There are only four or five clubs that you could say to leave Manchester United to go there and it could be seen as progression.

"I know Wayne Rooney and all he wants to do is play football and win, all he wants to do is win trophies. He is a winner and there is no better club to be at than Manchester United if you are a winner. He won't want to leave unless told he can leave.

"Going abroad? There are other big clubs. For the moment, I can't see his future beyond Manchester United.

"From my experience, generally the players that have left Manchester United have left before they expected to leave, before they have deteriorated or have gone down.

"Sir Alex will look at every week, every game, every season at each individual player very closely in training, very closely in games and say 'What kind of condition is he in, is he still mentally right for Manchester United?' If not, he will have no hesitation in getting rid of a player.

"We have seen big players from Manchester United come and go in previous years. Only Sir Alex will assess that. Wayne Rooney is a top player and Manchester United need top players."

The likes of Paris Saint Germain, Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid have been linked with a move for Rooney, but Barcelona's Lionel Messi wants the opportunity to play with the former Everton forward, as well as Tottenham Hotspur's Gareth Bale.

"Wayne Rooney and Gareth Bale are both great players, they are doing so well for their clubs," said Messi.

"And I always want to play with the best players. But I have to be careful with what I say because I can't see them leaving their teams soon. But of course I want to play with the best players."