Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I'll never move abroad, says red-hot Rooney


'Our game has improved so much in the past few seasons,' he said.

'We've proved we have the best league in the world — which is why we attract the best players in the world.

'It's down to English players if they decide to play abroad but, for me, English football is the best. I love playing here and I'm pretty sure that'll never change.'

Rooney's comments will perhaps provoke a little mirth on Merseyside.

After all, the 22-year-old once vowed never to leave Everton — and promptly left for Old Trafford in 2004.

But United's win over Lyon on Tuesday and Arsenal's stunning triumph in Milan have clearly got Rooney thinking about the prospects of English clubs meeting in the last eight of the Champions League — and perhaps beyond.

He added: 'It'd be nice if the English teams could stay apart in the Champions League and go further. It would be a shame if we drew each other.'

United were not at their scintillating best as they disposed of Lyon on the back of a 1-1 away draw and victory by a solitary Ronaldo goal at Old Trafford.

But Rooney echoed the sentiments of his manager Sir Alex Ferguson when he suggested United have the strength in depth to reach the final.

'We've brought good players in so the squad is bigger and we haven't got many serious injury problems at the moment,' said Rooney.

'The likes of Anderson and Nani have come in and been brilliant but the main thing is we're enjoying our football.

'That's a big reason why we're going well in three competitions.

'But if we want to win the Champions League we'll have to improve on our performance against Lyon. We got a bit edgy in the second half, a bit nervous.

'We're looking for better performances. But we do have a lot of match-winners now. At the end of last season we had a lot of injuries and a few tired players. But this is a big squad and, hopefully, the rotation policy will help.

'If we get to the last four again we'll be a lot fresher because a lot of the players won't have played as many games as they did last season.'

Such are the attacking options now available to Ferguson that even Rooney occasionally has to do a stint on the bench as he did for the 3-0 Premier League win at Fulham last weekend.

Rooney hates missing out and would rather play every game but admitted yesterday that the arrival of players like Carlos Tevez has helped him raise his own levels.

Is the Treble realistic? 'I hope so but you never know in football.'

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