LONDON (AFP) - Wayne Rooney cheekily poked fun at claims he had come off badly in a boxing bout in his own kitchen by miming a knockout blow after scoring against Tottenham on Sunday.
Rooney's day began badly when video footage emerged of the Manchester United and England striker being apparently knocked out in his kitchen by former team-mate Phil Bardsley during a supposedly friendly sparring session. The Sun newspaper reported the footage was shot in Rooney's kitchen on Feb 22.
In the video, the pair pull on boxing gloves and trade blows as they spar in Rooney's Cheshire mansion. Stoke defender Bardsley then catches Rooney square in the face with a left jab, sending the United and England skipper plummeting to the floor. Rooney lays prostrate on the floor and the video comes to an abrupt end.
Rooney was able to see the funny side, however, as he marked his goal against Spurs, which gave United a 3-0 half-time lead, by doing a mime of a flurry of punches before falling backwards to the Old Trafford turf. Team-mates gathered around Rooney as he lay on the pitch, pretending to try to revive the 29-year-old as he feigned unconsciousness.
Despite his jovial celebration, Rooney was keen to play down the incident when quizzed in a post-match interview. "That's the world we live in today. It was a few mates in a private house, which has somehow managed to go front page of a national newspaper. It was me and a few friends joking about," Rooney told Sky Sports 1.
"I've been focused on the game, I think it's more interesting for other people rather than myself. You've seen I've done a professional job, got on with the game. It's in my own home so it's not in any public place but I don't know how it's got out. You know it's what friends do, we mess around in the house and unfortunately it's made the front page of the newspaper so we just deal with it."
His celebration raised plenty of smiles around the sporting world however. Former United and England team-mate Michael Owen wrote on Twitter: "Best celebration ever from Rooney!" Gary Lineker, the former England striker, tweeted: "Terrific finish from Wayne Rooney and a even better celebration." Former Liverpool centre-back Jamie Carragher added: "I did love that celebration to be fair."
And British former heavyweight champion boxer David Haye offered to give Rooney, a noted boxing enthusiast, some tips on the sport. "Next time you're in London Wayne Rooney pop to my gym, I'll show you some useful defence and head movement," Haye tweeted.