• Premier League

Rooney admits striker snub caused rift with Sir Alex

ESPN staff
October 10, 2013 « Lewis eyes $100m Klitschko comeback | Chartbeat test »
'Fergie forced me out'

Wayne Rooney has revealed the breakdown in his relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United last season was caused by his former manager playing him out of position.

Rooney has revealed his "disappointment" at being played as a midfielder under Ferguson, which led to rumours he was hoping to leave Old Trafford in the summer.

Robin van Persie became Ferguson's first-choice striker last season, netting 26 league goals. However Rooney has started the new campaign in fine form, scoring five times.

Though Rooney admits he may have to drop back into midfield later in his career, he thanked new boss David Moyes for playing him as a forward, insisting he is happier at United as a result.

"You can clearly see I'm playing and I'm happy in my football," Rooney said. "David Moyes has come in, he's playing me up front, and I'm enjoying it. I've had no problem playing out of position in the past, but I'm a forward and I felt I deserved the right to play in my position.

"That wasn't happening. Naturally I was a bit disappointed and maybe that affected some of the games I played because last season wasn't my best.

"Everyone at the club knew where I wanted to play. Maybe I will play in midfield when I'm a bit older if I have lost my legs a bit but I didn't want to play there.

"I'm not saying I am going to throw my arms up in the air and not do it if we were hanging on a bit in the last 10 minutes of a game and if I got asked to drop back. But there came a point where I had to be a bit selfish for my own career."

Rooney's stance would appear to be at odds with a tweet he posted after Manchester United's 3-0 win at Newcastle in October 2012, where he played in midfield:

Rooney also commented on speculation linking him with a move away from United in recent months and denied he ever planned to walk out on the club.

"To be honest I've been settled all summer," he added. "I know from the outside looking in it might not have seemed like that, but I have. I spoke with the people who matter at the club and we knew what we were doing. The club made that clear.

"My wife had a new child and I've been really happy. I'm not going to go on saying I wanted to stay or I wanted to leave. I just want to concentrate on my football. We'll see what happens after that."

Despite United's disappointing start to the season, Rooney insists Moyes has his side well conditioned and will reap the rewards as the season progresses.

"The training has been so hard. We've done a lot of different types of training, a lot more running; long running, quicker running, sharper running. That's been of benefit to me. I feel as fit as I have done at any point."

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