David Moyes claims Wayne Rooney is still needed at Manchester United - as cover for star striker Robin van Persie.
Rooney has been the focus of intense speculation regarding his United future ever since former boss Sir Alex Ferguson revealed the England international had handed in a transfer request in May.
But the new man at Old Trafford insists the 27-year-old forward's flexibility remains an important asset for the club and so he is reluctant to let him leave.
"Overall, my thought on Wayne is, if for any reasons we had an injury to Robin van Persie, we'll need him," said Moyes.
He added: "Wayne can play up on his own, he can play dropped in. It's going to be a time to see how I work with Wayne.
"Manchester United isn't about Wayne Rooney. Manchester United is about the team - the club.
"I won't allow Wayne Rooney to become more important than the football club and the football team, because that's the heart of it."
Rooney still has two years left on his deal at United and, as a result, Moyes does not feel under too much pressure to renew the contract or risk a cut-price sale.
"Maybe in a year's time we might have to look at something else," he added.
"The first year I have to get a chance to see the players and how best to use them."