Rooney targets the next level
Wayne Rooney believes Manchester United's UEFA Champions League triumph last season will add an extra dimension to his game.
Although Rooney had enjoyed plenty of success with United before last season, some critics claimed the England forward hadn't fulfilled the huge potential he showed when he made his debut for Everton as a 16-year-old. Rooney, 22, responded by helping United win the Champions League and Premier League and is confident that European triumph over Chelsea in Moscow will play a key role in his development.
With the confidence of such a significant victory on his CV, Rooney is ready to join United's pantheon of greats. "Hopefully the Champions League will take me on to the next stage," he said.
"To win a competition like that is a great achievement for any player. We are all in the game to win trophies. I am no different. When I have finished I will look back and see how many trophies I have won and judge myself then."
Rooney, who should feature for United at Portsmouth on Monday, feels the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani and Anderson will benefit from the club's double success.
"We have a lot of young players in the team and it can only help us," he said. Hopefully we can take that in to the next few years and make us a better team."
Rooney's short-term ambition is solely to win more trophies. However, he is not convinced his own contribution can be improved by adopting a more selfish attitude as some have suggested, including Fabio Capello and Sir Alex Ferguson.
"I am an unselfish player, I have said that many times," he said. "."
Rooney is close to full fitness after a two-week absence with the virus he contracted in Nigeria during pre-season.
His appearance for England in their midweek draw with the Czech Republic at Wembley on Wednesday should have sharpened him up even further and Sir Alex Ferguson is looking for the return of Rooney's selfish streak.
Both Ferguson and Capello believe Rooney expends too much energy doing jobs he does not necessarily need to do, although the United boss admitted there are far worse crimes to commit.
"I have no problems with Wayne Rooney at all," he said. "Unselfishness is maybe not the biggest crime to have as a footballer. It shows qualities of teamwork and a general nature which is terrific to see in footballers.
"We are in an era of individual appreciation. Earrings, tattoos, goals, the need to be seen. It is refreshing someone is prepared to sacrifice that for the team effort."