Rooney Timeline – Part 3

With Wayne Rooney now set to stay at Old Trafford for the next five years, Ryan Keaney finishes off his look over the up-and-down six years that the striker has enjoyed with Manchester United so far:

July 2008: Following the Champions League victory over Chelsea, Wayne Rooney tells everyone he has the intention of being at his very best. While enjoying his honeymoon in Las Vegas, Rooney spoke of his admiration for Cristiano Ronaldo and the 42 goals that he scored during the 2007/08 season. “Cristiano is unbelievable. What he’s done for United in the last two years is brilliant,” admitted Rooney to the Manchester Evening News. “Playing alongside him makes you work hard. You always want to be the best and I think I can score a few more goals.”

August 2008: Rooney is questioned by police after allegedly spitting at a paparazzi photographer near London’s Oxford Street. The charges are later dropped.

August 2008: After playing for Manchester United on tour in Africa, Wayne picks up a virus that makes him a major doubt for the start of the season. The illness leaves Alex Ferguson short of attacking options for the season opener against Newcastle with Cristiano Ronaldo still recovering from ankle surgery: “I’m starting to worry about whether we are going to have a team ready for the start of the season, because Nani is suspended, Anderson is at the Olympics and I doubt if we will get Rooney fit after the virus he has had,” Ferguson told Sky Sports News. “He picked it up in Nigeria and it’s not a nice one. It’s 12 days to the season starts and he’s not been able to train.” Rooney eventually recovers in time to play in the 1-1 draw.

October 2008: Aware that with Carlos Tevez, Dimitar Berbatov and Cristiano Ronaldo all at the club, Rooney realises that he needs to play his best football to remain a regular for the Red Devils. As such, he produces his best ever week of professional football for club and country: “I’m really pleased with my form. I’ve probably not had a better week in professional football,” beamed the 22-year-old. “I’ve played well for England, got four goals and we won both games. I’ve scored again for United and we’ve won, so I’m really pleased and, hopefully, I can keep playing like this.”

October 2008: Rooney gets himself into a lot of hot water for kissing the Manchester United badge at Goodison Park. The game ends 1-1 and Wayne is substituted by Sir Alex because he feared the front man would get himself dismissed. “It was unfair and put us under pressure. Wayne is a committed player and he tackles but any more and he would have been sent off,” said Ferguson after the clash. “The crowd had got to the referee and it was difficult.”

December 2008: The fiery striker escapes disciplinary action from UEFA after a desperate lunge on Aalborg midfielder Kasper Risgaard. The incident was missed by the referee and after the game Risgaard said he thought Rooney was lucky to be still on the pitch when he scored the equaliser in the 2-2 draw. “I do not think the referee saw it. Anywhere else but this place it would have been a red card,”said Risgaard. “I have some big marks and I do not think it looks good on television.”

January 2009: Rooney injures his hamstring during United’s 1-0 win over Wigan Athletic at Old Trafford and his boss refuses to rush him back into action. Ferguson said in the Daily Mail: “Rooney’s never had a hamstring injury before, so you have to be cautious about the way you deal with that.” Rooney returns nearly six weeks later.

March 2009: Comments that former Everton striker Wayne Rooney “hates” Liverpool surprise no-one but do manage to get him into a bit of trouble. Sir Alex Ferguson is forced to defend Rooney after his comments to MUTV in the build-up to the clash.

May 2009: Barcelona make Manchester United look ordinary in the Champions League final to deny their hopes of retaining the European trophy. Rooney is barely noticeable on the pitch as the Spanish midfielder boss the game from start to finish. Rooney is able to celebrate however as United wrap up their third Premier League title in a row.

June 2009: The build-up to the following year’s World Cup starts in earnest with Rooney backing himself to have an excellent tournament. After the disappointment of not qualifying for Euro 2008 and the miserable ends that England suffered at Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup, the striker tells The Sun. “You love to play in a big tournament and the two I have played in so far have ended in a big disappointment for me and the team. Hopefully we can qualify and win something with this team.”

August 2009: Having sold Ronaldo to Real Madrid for £80m, Ferguson tips Rooney to take on more of a goal-scoring role for his side. “I don’t think the responsibility of getting more goals will affect Wayne at all,” said the United boss. “He’s got the mental strength for all that kind of thing. He’s proved that time and time again. He will be used as a central striker this season. He goes on these bursts of goals. If he can do that more consistently over the season, he will get to 25 and above.”

September 2009: Sir Alex Ferguson rules out the likelihood that Wayne Rooney will ever skipper Manchester United. ”It’s difficult for a forward to be captain,” United boss Ferguson said in The Sun. “Eric Cantona was because he was such an influence to young players, they idolised him. But normally you look at midfielders and defenders. Wayne will always take responsibility, he has a natural desire for that and will always give 100 per cent.”

November 2009: In the absence of regular captain John Terry, Wayne Rooney is handed the armband against Brazil. An under-strength England side lost the match 1-0 but the stand-in captain believed they had many positives to take from the game. “It was a great moment for me to lead the side out, something I was really proud of,” said Rooney. “When you are a young kid, you dream of captaining England but never think it will happen. Tonight it has happened and I’m proud, and my family will feel the same, but I don’t think it was the best game we have played. We can do a lot better. The first half was quite even, but in the second half they were the better side and deserved the victory. We looked tired at the end. We did okay, but we can do better.”

March 2010:Having scored 34 goals in the first seven months of the season, Rooney hobbles off against Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final. Heralded the world over for being in the form of his life, Rooney’s recovery isn’t helped when he is rushed back into action the following week for the second leg. The talisman breaks down for a second time in a week after 55 minutes of the return match and could only watch on from the sidelines as they crashed out of the competition. Everyone’s attention turned towards the summer’s World Cup and whether Rooney would be fit.

April 2010: After threatening a surprise return from injury in seemingly every match since the European exit, Sir Alex Ferguson finally admits that Rooney may well have played his last domestic game of the season thanks to a groin injury. “It’s difficult to say,” Ferguson told Sky Sports when asked if Rooney would play again this season. “Groin injuries are groin injuries and I think it will maybe take two or three weeks to be honest with you. We’ll try and give him every chance, obviously, and Wayne will be desperate to play himself, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”

May 2010: Wayne Rooney lasts only 13 minutes against Stoke before limping off. The 24-year-old’s niggling groin injury once again causes panic among desperate England fans.

June 2010: Rooney is passed fit for the start of the World Cup and nea

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