The story behind Rooney's boxing celebration in 2015
Ahead of heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua fighting this weekend, Manchester United great Wayne Rooney has revealed the amusing tale behind his famous boxing celebration in 2015.
That celebration was a self-deprecating reference to a video that had emerged in the British press overnight, showing Rooney jokingly sparring with his friend and ex-United defender Phil Bardsley. Now, in a BBC podcast with boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, Rooney has told the story of that ‘bout’.
'THE MANAGER FOUND IT HILARIOUS!'
“Growing up, I remember my dad used to give us the gloves in the house,” says Wayne, on his lifelong passion for boxing.
“It is something I have always loved doing. The night with Bardo, we got home and we put the gloves on. It is something that we do quite regularly – but that one got out!
“After I went down, the video stops but I wasn’t knocked out. We got up and carried on. I remember when we finished and the two of us sat there. My nose had gone and Bardo had blooding pouring out of his mouth. We were both looking at each other, saying: ‘what are we doing?’ But Bardo is the same. He has brought up in Manchester the same way I have in Liverpool. We both love boxing.
“I remember when it was coming out, I remember going in to see [Louis] van Gaal. He was the manager at the time. I said, ‘listen, this story is coming out about me and Phil Bardsley boxing in the house’ and he found it hilarious!
“I think what was perfect was when I scored and the celebration. I didn’t even plan it. When I scored it just came to me.”
'I HAVE GROWN UP WITH BOXING'
Elsewhere in the podcast, Rooney explains how the sport of boxing has been in his family for ages.
“Boxing is the sport I like watching the most,” he tells Hearn.
“My dad boxed and my whole family. I have grown up with boxing. My uncle is still running the gym in Croxteth, which he has ran for 20 to 30 years. It is just something that is in me as well. Thankfully I wasn’t as good at boxing as I was at football, so I think my career went the right way it was meant to!”
'BOXING MADE ME READY FOR THE PREMIER LEAGUE'
United legend Rooney also attributes his boxing training as a child as the reason why he was able to make such a stunning impact on the Premier League as a 16-year-old forward with Everton.
“I think at a younger age, boxing does more for kids than football does,” states Wayne.
“I have always said that it takes a lot of kids off the streets and takes them out of situations which they might have got involved in – and having that discipline, having goals to hit and enjoying it.
“It did it for me. I used to go to my football training and then straight to boxing after it. Me being able to play in the Premier League at 16 was down to the training I was doing at boxing.
“It made me physically ready and without that I don’t know I would have physically been able to cope with playing against the likes of Sol Campbell, Martin Keown and these big defenders. So that really helped me get in a condition where I was young, but physically I could handle it.”
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