Rooney predicts he has 'a lot of years' left at Man Utd

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
All smiles for Rooney in Man Utd training
All smiles for Rooney in Man Utd training

Wayne Rooney believes he will be a key man for Manchester United for many years to come as he prepares to celebrate his 30th birthday this weekend.

Criticism for Rooney's performances have flowed throughout this season, but he scored in last Saturday's impressive 3-0 win at Everton as he showed some signs that he is getting back to form.

Now he has vowed to silence his doubters who believe he is edging towards the end of his days at the top of the game, by insisting he has plenty more years in front of him as United's leading marksman.

“I feel good physically, and obviously it’s a big birthday in anyone’s life, your 30th," Rooney told reporters

“But in terms of me and football, I still feel I am still young enough, and that I have a lot of years ahead of me.

“I’ve had no major muscle injuries and I think us, as players now, we have all the support of the sports science and all the guys to help us in terms of preparation, training and games.

“So I think it’s still a fairly young age and hopefully I’ve got a lot of years to come.

“Players in the past have known when the time is right to finish playing and I’m certainly nowhere near that stage.

“I feel fitter and fresher than I ever have done really, so for me it is just a number. Obviously it’s a big number in terms of birthdays, but in terms of me and my football career it’s not important.

“When the time comes I’m sure I’ll know and I’ll have to assess the situation then, but it’s something which I’ve not even thought about.”

Rooney and United are back in Russia for their Champions League game against CSKA Moscow, which will be played in the city where the club's last's Champions League win was secured back in 2008.

That penalty shoot-out win against Chelsea seven years ago is cherished by Rooney, who wants to taste that kind of glory again in the coming years.

"It was the highlight of my career," he reflected on to the Moscow in against Chelsea, when Blues skipper John Terry slipped when taking what could have been the winning penalty for his team.

"It is a massive competition to play in, to win the trophy it's obviously great memories."

"We want to get back to winning trophies, of course. That is why you play football - to try and be successful, certainly at this club," Rooney said.

"In the last few years we haven't been good enough. There has been a big change in the club over the last few years and it's now starting to settle back down into a good rhythm with what the manager wants from us and we are improving.

"If we keep going the way we are, keep improving the way we are, then we will have a good chance of being successful."

Rooney will draw level with Denis Law in United's all-time scoring list on 236 goals if he hits the target against CSKA Moscow on Wednesday night.