Rooney: "I want to help like Giggs ’n Scholes"
WAYNE ROONEY says he wants to leave a legacy at Manchester United like Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs.
Just over a month ago he was orchestrating a way out of the club after refusing to sign a new deal.
He also struck a bum note when he questioned the strength of the squad at Old Trafford.
But manager Alex Ferguson persuaded his star striker to perform a U-turn and the Red Devils ace is now singing from a very different hymnsheet.
Rooney, 25, said: "Obviously I had my concerns and voiced my opinion and it went from there really.
"At the end of the day I'm delighted I've signed a new deal here at United.
"My long-term career is here at United. I want to help the younger players the way Giggsy, Gary Neville and Scholesy have helped me. I want to be here to help them and to make this club continue to be successful. That's my main aim."
Rooney will start his first game for the club tonight since September 26 in the Champions League encounter with Rangers at Ibrox. He came on for his first action since his contract controversy in the 2-0 win over Wigan on Saturday, having recovered from an ankle injury.
The reaction from the United faithful was generally good, although some boos could be heard.
Rooney said: "With the issues which have gone on for the last few months, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about the reaction from the fans. But overall I thought the reception I got was brilliant.
"I just wanted to get on the pitch and try to help the team win and to score goals. Hopefully, the manager said I'm going to play against Rangers so I'm looking forward to that."
Rooney had a week off with his wife Coleen in Dubai and was then sent away to the Nike HQ in the States to work on his rehabilitation.
Rooney said: "It was just what I needed - get away to get my fitness up.
"I got injured here at the club and the medical team made it clear to me that they didn't want me to do anything for seven to 10 days.
"The club gave me the time off to go away as there was not training for me to do, which I went and did.
"I went out to the States with a guy from the Man United medical team and we worked on my fitness training which was really intense. We were leaving for training at 9am and getting back at 6pm.
"I wanted to make sure when I did get back into the team that I was fit and ready and that it wasn't going to take me four, five games to get back to my best."
Ferguson believes a big Battle of Britain match will be the perfect way for Rooney to kickstart his season.
Last season, he bagged 34 goals but he has not scored in open play for United since March and was a flop for England at the World Cup.
But Fergie said: "It's been intense for Wayne. It's not been easy, it's been hard work. It is like him starting his season again.
"This game is an ideal opportunity for him in terms of coming back to the level we know he's capable of.
"It's a high-profile match, a terrific pitch, a great stadium, the atmosphere will be fantastic. All of those are positives for anyone of Wayne's ability."
United need just a point from tonight's game to ensure qualification for the next stage and Ferguson has rested centre-back pairing Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, while Darren Fletcher has a knock.
Yet Fergie knows defeat at the ground he graced as a player could leave them needing to beat Valencia in their final group game to get through.
He said: "It's an interesting situation and one we have to treat pretty seriously.
"If Rangers win, we'd then have to beat Valencia as I expect Valencia to win at home to Bursaspor."
United are on an unbeaten run of 26 games, stretching back to last season.
While they are joint top of the Premier League with Chelsea, they are, like the rest of the top four, struggling to find their best form.
Ferguson blames himself for that and particularly the way Dimitar Berbatov's early-season goals have dried up.
Ferguson said: "In fairness to Dimitar, we've been changing the strike partners quite a lot this season.
"I have to accept responsibility for that and perhaps I changed things too much."