Manchester United icon Wayne Rooney deliberately wore longer studs to try and injure a Chelsea player in 2006 – an incident which sums up his street-fighter spirit
Wayne Rooney has a winning mentality which means the disappointments are as memorable as the glory days.
He won five Premier League titles, the Champions League, an FA Cup and three League Cups in a glittering career which made him a Manchester United legend.
But the pain of failure is etched in his memory as he was determined to leave his own mark on his England team-mate John Terry when Chelsea beat United to the title in April 2006.
Rooney took that defeat so badly that he left a stud in Terry’s leg, later calming down enough to send the Chelsea captain his signed shirt – but asking for his stud back.
“I always wore the old plastic studs with the metal tip and for that game I changed into big, long metal ones, the maximum length you could have because I wanted to try to hurt someone, to try to injure someone,” said Rooney.
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“I did it, because John Terry left the stadium on crutches. I left a hole in his foot and then I signed my shirt to him after the game… and a few weeks later I sent it to him and asked for my stud back!
“If you look back on the pictures after the game, JT is celebrating – but he’s on crutches from that tackle. We knew if Chelsea won then they had won the League that day, but you knew they would win because you could feel they were a better team at that time.
“It was more frustration from the time. Jose Mourinho was there, JT, Lamps and they had a great team. I just knew it would get to me, that I could boil over and it was almost a protection of myself but also a feeling that if you can’t win then not let them enjoy it as much as they want to.”
That is Rooney in a nutshell; an incredible will-to-win, a terrible loser and the street fighter who will go to any lengths to succeed.
It is what made him such a success as a player – Manchester United and England’s record goal scorer – but now also as a manager at Derby. Rooney has inherited a mess at the club; they should be as good as relegated but they are fighting for their lives.
Rooney said: “I love football. I always knew I wanted to stay in football. There were opportunities where I could have gone into TV and stuff like that, but I’ve always wanted to be on the pitch.
“I want to try to give some of my experience and knowledge back into the game. I always felt I’d be a good manager so to do it now it’s obviously different to what I thought would be,” he added, laughing. “I never thought I’d be managing in administration and dealing with what I’m dealing with.
“But it’s all an experience. I’ve always been a fighter, been through difficult moments. Now I’m in a fight, it’s a challenge but I truly believe that we will come out the other side.
“The club’s a big club. My job is to keep the players calm, to keep all the staff at the training ground, at the stadium calm.
“We obviously need outside influences to help us but I believe the club’s big enough that we will get the help and we will get through this and, actually, it’d be for the better.”
Rooney’s new documentary is a fascinating watch as it is a warts-and-all show about his career, family life with his wife Coleen and his kids while having to grow up in public.
His mistakes are laid bare but it also puts across the other side of Rooney, who comes across much better than the perception of him being an angry millionaire footballer.
Rooney added: “I did find it difficult. I made mistakes on the pitch, off the pitch. Actually from 18, from when the first story came out, that stuck with me, that stuck with my character to this day from a lot of people.
“For me, it was important to do this so people could see me as a person, me as a father, as a son, as a husband and actually see me for who I am rather than the odd occasion when I’ve made mistakes.”
**’Rooney’ is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video from Friday.