, maybe United supporters feel like they’ve known me for a longer time. They certainly helped me. I got so many letters during my rehab from fans and United players encouraging me to get fit again and come to United. That contact meant so much to me and I wanted to pay it back when I finally played for the club. I want to have a good time on the pitch and with the fans too. Fans come out hoping to watch a great game and have fun...that’s what I want to give them.
You said at the end of the season that winning personal awards meant nothing if the team didn’t win anything, but it must be a compensation to know that everyone from fans to Premiership players and team-mates rate you?
I came to United to win trophies with the team and we won nothing so I can’t be satisfied with that. But yes, of course it’s a fantastic honour that so many different people voted for me. That means a lot to me and is great for my confidence. It’s a great reward for a year of hard work as well. These awards give me great motivation to go on from this point and try to do the same again.
A few observers reckoned you faded a little towards the end of the last season as your year out from the game finally took its toll. Do you agree?
If you’ve been out for a year, you want to know how long you can carry on for and I’m happy at the way it went. It wasn’t as if I had one or two months when I didn’t score, it was continuous over the whole season. I was completely fit. Of course at the end of the season you feel more tired, but I think that’s the case for all the players, not just me.
You were the last player off the pitch after Arsenal won the title at Old Trafford and you looked utterly dejected. How long did that feeling last?
It hurt a hell of a lot. It was decided in that game and there was a final realisation that you couldn’t do anything about it anymore. It’s the fact that it’s over that’s hard to take. After trying so hard all season to win the title, it felt like a slap in the face. It took me a while to get over