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25 February 2024

'Angry' Rooney hails 'perfect' Man Utd

Man United manager Alex Ferguson (right) takes off Wayne Rooney during the Barclays Premier League match against Newcastle United at St James' Park on January 4 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (GETTY)

By Staff

Wayne Rooney has hinted at simmering tensions with Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson by claiming he did not deserve to be punished for a night out on Boxing Day.

Rooney was fined along with Manchester United team-mates Jonny Evans and Darron Gibson after turning up for training worse for wear the following day.

The England striker was also dropped for United's 3-2 defeat by Blackburn at Old Trafford on New Year's Eve.

Breaking his silence on his latest bust-up with Ferguson, Rooney admitted being angry at the decision to fine and drop him.

He said: "Yes, but for reasons that I can't make public.

"I accepted it. But I was tense when I got back on the pitch (United lost 3-0 to Newcastle and Rooney was subbed) and I believe it showed."

However, he insisted the United boss remains the most important figure in his career and Manchester United "the perfect club".

"My manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, has given me the most (in football). He is the biggest present life could give me," he said.

Rooney said disagreements between players and manager are inevitable.

"You can't always live in harmony," said the 26-year-old. "Football is made up of conflict, in all senses.

"The life in a dressing room, between players, between us and the coach, between us and loads of people, it's continuous confrontation and at times it's harsh."

Rooney hit back at Manchester City coach Roberto Mancini’s claims that he got Vincent Kompany sent off in there cent FA Cup derby win over City.

Mancini criticised Rooney for holding two fingers up to ref Chris Foy, to indicate Kompany's challenge on Nani was two-footed and therefore worthy of a straight red card, which the official produced.

But Rooney, speaking to Italian newspaper La Republica, said: "It's a question of points of view. He claimed that I encouraged the referee to send off Kompany with a gesture.

"If it were like that, every player who makes that gesture after suffering a foul would direct the game in place of the referee and obviously it can't be like that.

"The fact it was a legitimate sending-off was confirmed by the four-match suspension and the rejection of the appeal."

Before then, Rooney had opened the scoring with a superb header from Antonio Valencia’s cross. But it is his aerial game that he believes needs the most improvement.

"It might seem absurd seeing that on Sunday I scored a header against City, but I could still improve on jumping, in the position of my feet more than in the elevation," he said.

"There are many ways to grow football-wise. You can go slow or, unexpectedly, be pushed into going faster, otherwise you get left behind. For me, there’d be trouble if I stopping learning."

Rooney had words of praise for La Liga stars Lionel Messi and his former United team mate Cristiano Ronaldo after finishing in fifth place in the voting for the Fifa Ballon D’Or World Player of the Year

"Messi is scary," he said. "I will never forget when I saw him for the first time. I was in front of the TV, I think it was 2005. He impressed me to the point that I wondered whether the tape recorder was broken."

As for Ronaldo, Rooney said: "It was thrilling and an education to play alongside him.

"I was perhaps a little (upset) when he left, but I was also happy for him because he wanted to have other experiences: 87 goals in 80 games with Real Madrid seem like a good enough explanation to me, no?"

When it was pointed out to him that United have won four trophies and reached the Champions League final since Ronaldo’s departure, Rooney countered: "That’s why it’s the perfect club: and don’t say that I’m biased. It’s only the words of others that say I’m leaving, they are just rumours."

Rooney went on to say he would rather win a Champions League final than the Ballon D’Or — "without wanting to offend anyone in football" — while scoring great goals like the bicycle-kick against City that saw him nominated for the Puskas Award for 2011’s best goal, won by Neymar, was a question of pure instinct.

"You stop thinking with your head and start thinking with your gut. It’s like bringing a child into the world," he concluded. "The important thing is to score when needed, better if the goals are beautiful, better still if they’re important. Neymar’s goal was a beauty."