Liverpool legend Graeme Souness believes David Moyes made Wayne Rooney feel "second fiddle" at Manchester United by suggesting the England international is back-up to Robin van Persie earlier this month.
Conjecture over the future of Rooney remains, with Chelsea remaining favourites for his signature if United agree to let go of the striker.
Moyes implied Rooney is not the focal point of United's attack by saying "if for any reason we had an injury to Robin van Persie, we'll need him".
Souness told Sky Sports that those quotes could have pushed Rooney towards the exit door.
"Whether it was intentional or unwise words by David Moyes, if I'm Wayne Rooney I'm thinking 'hang on, I'm the star of the show'," he said. "He sees himself as now second fiddle to van Persie.
"He will be a very unhappy young man at that - his ego's been dented. Manchester United have put themselves in a very difficult situation, but I don't think they can sell him to an English team."
Rooney is expected to return from injury for United during the friendly against AIK in Sweden on August 6.