Rooney: I need to unleash the beast
Published 23:00 02/10/10 By Simon Mullock
Wayne Rooney has vowed to once again wage war on defenders after realising that he needs to come out of his World Cup nightmare kicking and screaming.
The Manchester United striker is in the biggest crisis of his career - both on and off the pitch - prompting Sir Alex Ferguson to take him out of the firing line.
As revelations about his personal life have raged, Rooney’s only goal for United since he suffered an ankle injury at Bayern Munich in March came from the penalty sport against West Ham.
And the 24-year-old believes he is paying the price for trying to curb his naturally aggressive streak.
“It’s still not where I want it to be, I still need to be scoring more goals,“ said Rooney, who has assured Fabio Capello he will be fit for England’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro next week.
“I need to be getting involved in the game more, I need to be a bit more aggressive, maybe that aggressive streak has gone too much out of me.
“So I’ll be trying to get that aggressive streak back in the next games I play in.
“I’ve played four or five games, so I’ve still got a few more games before I’m at my best, but I’m hoping that’ll come soon enough. I think half of it goes with maturity, you don’t do stupid things on the field which you don’t really need to do.
“Then the other half, you’re conscious of getting yellow cards, red cards, suspended.
“But I feel it’s something I need in my game, which I need to get back, and I’m sure my form will come from there.”
Rooney, speaking in an interview with Sky Sports News, added: “It was a poor World Cup. I know by my own standards I didn’t reach the form I would have liked. It’s frustrating and disappointing.
“You try and forget it and move on. But obviously you know it’s difficult. You’re going to the biggest tournament in the world and you want to try and express yourself, do well for the team, and we didn’t do that.
“It’s hard to take, and we need to try and do well in the qualifiers, and put it right in the Euros. But until that happens, it’s always going to be there in your mind.
“I prepared well for it. We prepared well as a team and once we got on the pitch it just didn’t click. So it still, to this day, puzzles me. I can’t really say I wasn’t fit, as I trained every session with the team before the games.
“I’m not using the ball as an excuse, but the ball wasn’t up to the standards to be the World Cup ball. Me personally, I knew I wasn’t playing well, and sometimes then you try to do too much instead of keeping it simple.
“And once it happens in a couple of games, and you’re thinking am I going to play well, am I going to score a goal? And it drags on, but I’m extremely disappointed with it, and I’m sure the whole of the country is, because they expected more.”
Ferguson was criticised for playing Rooney during the final weeks of the season when he was carrying the injury.
But Rooney added: “I think I was fine. I just can’t see why I didn’t perform - not even to half the performance levels I know I can do.”