Under-fire Rooney hits back at critics

LONDON • Wayne Rooney has admitted that he is under greater scrutiny than ever before in his career after a testing start to the season, but the Manchester United captain believes he can still play a major part under Jose Mourinho.

The English striker has scored once in five Premier League games for Mourinho so far - against Bournemouth on the opening day of the season - and has been criticised after a series of disappointing performances.

He told the club's in-house television channel on Thursday that he acknowledged it had been a tough few weeks.

Asked to comment on the scrutiny that he has attracted in the media, Rooney replied: "I think I've had that my whole career - a little bit more of late, I think, but that's football.

"I listen to my coaches and my team-mates, the people around me, and I don't really listen to what a lot of people out there are saying because a lot of it is rubbish.

NOTHING BUT NOISE

I don't really listen to what a lot of people out there are saying because a lot of it is rubbish.

WAYNE ROONEY, Manchester United captain, on filtering out the negative criticism he has been facing.

"I have to focus, work hard, of course, and I've done that throughout my career."

Rooney is expected to feature against Leicester City today despite his travails this season and the 30-year-old hit back at suggestions that his days as a striker are numbered.

"I've done that (played in different positions) throughout my career," he said.

"I feel I can play in all positions but I think the manager has made it clear either I'll play up front or in the No. 10 and that's where he sees me playing.

"As I said before, it's not just myself - the whole team is going in and working hard. We had a bad week but we've been working hard to put that right."

Rooney backed Mourinho to turn things round sooner rather than later.

"I think he's been brilliant since he's come in," the forward said. "The training has been really good and it's interesting to see how he prepares for games with tactics, how we approach games, and it's been really good. I'm sure obviously we will come back and definitely be challenging this season."

Rooney is also relishing the prospect of facing Manchester City again in the fourth round of the League Cup.

"I think it's the perfect draw," he said. "With what happened in the league, it's a chance for us to get revenge."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2016, with the headline 'Under-fire Rooney hits back at critics'. Print Edition | Subscribe