Saturday 08 September 2012
So far in his glittering career at Manchester United Wayne Rooney has taken his trophy haul well into double figures but he says that nothing can compare with the "incredible feeling" of winning the Barclays Premier League title for the first time.
Rooney can count four Premier League titles, the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup among the honours he has claimed while at Old Trafford but it is the maiden League title he lifted with United in the 2006/07 season that he holds dearest.
"That has been the best I felt after winning a trophy, winning that first Premier League medal"
"To win your first Premier League, the feeling was incredible," said Rooney, in an interview to be broadcast on premierleague.com next week. "To get that medal around your neck was a great feeling and something I will never forget. That has been the best I felt after winning a trophy, winning that first Premier League medal."
The United forward has enjoyed a high-flying career since first breaking on to the scene as a prodigious teenager with Everton in 2002. He was still five days shy of his 17th birthday when he thumped a spectacular, curling last-minute winner past David Seaman to mark the end of Arsenal's 30-match unbeaten sequence and the start of his own rise to prominence.
"To score against Arsenal was a great feeling," added the 26-year-old, who has marked his ten years in the English top-flight with a book entitled 'My Decade in the Premier League'. "Afterwards I was having a kickabout with my mates round by where we live – it was nothing different to what I had been doing."
Rooney's life, however, would never be the same again. Coveted as England's most promising up-and-coming player it was not long before United came knocking and the future international found the prospects of lifting silverware at the Old Trafford club too great to refuse.
"Whether I am playing computer games with my mates, I always want to win"
"I want to win and be successful ... win trophies and medals," he explained. "I've been like that with everything, whether I am playing computer games with my mates, I always want to win."
It is a view shared by his manager at United, Sir Alex Ferguson, so it was with some shock that the Scotsman received the news two years ago that his prized striker had handed in a transfer request.
"At the time, you don't realise what is happening," recalls Rooney. "I realised I made a mistake and went back in and said, 'Listen, I think I have made a mistake and want to stay at the football club if you want me to be here.' Thankfully they did.
"We have not talked about it since and haven't looked back and we have progressed and won another Premier League trophy, so it's gone for me. I regret but it's in the past and I am looking forward to the future."
Although Rooney is expected to remain sidelined until October with a deep gash in his thigh sustained while playing against Fulham last month, there is certainly plenty for him to look forward to.
"He's probably the best manager of all-time"
United have made a promising start to the campaign with two wins from their opening three League matches, the last of which was Ferguson's 1,000th in charge of United. It is an extraordinary 26-year reign which Rooney hopes will continue to run and run.
"He's probably the best manager of all-time," he said. "His desire, his belief, winning mentality and hunger is incredible and that rubs off on us all.
"From an early age, I had that as a kid. To work with him for such a long time – and hopefully there are many more years to come because I am sure he will be here for a long time – is a great honour."
4 Barclays Premier League
1 UEFA Champions League
1 FIFA Club World Cup
2 League Cups
3 Community Shields
1 PFA Player of the Year
2 PFA Young Player of the Year
1 Barclays Premier League Player of the Season
3 Barclays Premier League Team of the Year
1 UEFA EURO 2004 Team of the Tournament
5 Barclays Premier League Player of the Month
1 Barclays Premier League 20 Seasons Best Goal