EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS

11/01/2008 08:49, Report by Gemma Thompson
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Roo loves no.10 shirt

Wayne Rooney this season took up the iconic no.10 at Old Trafford, and as he reveals part two of this interview, he's hoping to follow in the footsteps of some of the footballing greats to have donned the shirt...

Why did you change your number this season – were you offered the No.10 shirt?
When Ruud [van Nistelrooy] left and no-one took it the following season I asked the manager and David Gill if I could have the shirt. I had to wait a year until the new kit came out [at the start of this season], but as soon as that happened I was given the shirt, which was great. Ten has always been my favourite number.

Did you know much about the history behind the shirt at United – Denis Law, Mark Hughes and Ruud van Nistelrooy, of course, are all former holders…
They were all great players who scored so many goals for the club so I knew what a big number it was for me to take. But that great history makes wearing the shirt feel even better and also makes it more of a challenge to succeed. I always keep my first shirt of every new season so I’ve got the first no.10 one I wore against Chelsea [in the Community Shield] up at home.

It’s also an iconic shirt throughout world football – Puskas, Pele, Platini, Maradona, Baggio, Zidane and now Ronaldinho have all worn it – was that in your mind too?
Yeah, it’s definitely been an important number down the years. It’s probably more of a traditional number in South America for the best players to wear no.10. When you look at the players that have worn it, it feels great to have the number. Hopefully when I’ve finished people will look back and say the same thing about me.

Have you got a favourite no.10 that you used to watch as a youngster?
Not really. Duncan Ferguson was a big hero of mine but he was no.9 when I was a kid. He did switch to no.10 when I broke into the team at Everton though. Michael Owen is probably the no.10 I remember watching the most. Even though he played for Liverpool, I still always enjoyed watching him.

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