Why did Wayne Rooney decide to sign for United?
Wayne Rooney says he knew he could work with Sir Alex Ferguson and several world-class players to help create a ‘special’ team when he signed for Manchester United in 2004.
Speaking in a must-listen episode of UTD Podcast, which will be released on all of your favourite podcast platforms from Monday evening, our all-time leading goalscorer goes in-depth to explain the reasoning behind choosing to join the Reds, ahead of the likes of Newcastle and Chelsea.
Wayne had the belief he could significantly add to what was an already successful side and admits that Sir Alex was the driving force behind his decision – although, once he signed and got down to work at the Aon Training Complex, it was all about impressing two of the club’s longest-serving players, rather than the manager who clinched his signature.
“It might sound a bit big-headed but I knew I could come to Man United and be part of something special,” the 35-year-old told us.
“I knew I was good enough to play in this team and I could bring something different to the team.
“I wanted to work with Sir Alex Ferguson and play with Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane, Rio Ferdinand, these players, so I knew where I wanted to go.
“I knew quite a few of the players. I knew Rio, Gary Neville, Scholesy, Phil Neville was here for a little bit, so I knew them from England. I think the main thing for me, I signed for the club because I wanted to play for Alex Ferguson.
“When I signed I had a broken foot so I couldn’t go straight into training with the players. But once I got training with the players, the main thing was impressing Giggsy and Roy Keane. I wanted to impress those two, not so much the manager.
“I know it sounds a bit strange but it was almost like I wanted to win them over. I wanted them to believe in me and feel I was good enough. That was my main thing I wanted to do. Obviously in my first game [Wayne scored a hat-trick in a 6-2 win over Fenerbahce) I think I did that. I settled in really quickly.”
Rooney flew out of the blocks as a United player, adding a further 14 goals to his debut treble to finish as our prime marksman with 17 at the end of the 2004/05 season.
Included in that tally was a winning strike at Anfield in January 2005 and the type of effort that will always impress United fans, let alone Messrs Giggs and Keane.
When asked whether he worried about Mancunians taking him to their hearts, given his Merseyside upbringing, Wayne stated that, although he had doubts in the beginning, he always strived to give the fans what he thought they wanted in terms of application, knowing that his talent would be enough to keep the goals flowing.
UTD Podcast: The story of Rooney's transfer
In this first extract from his UTD Podcast, Rooney names the two clubs who rivalled United for his signature in 2004...
“[Winning the fans over] was in the back of my head,” Wayne admits. “It was something I had thought about.
“It was almost about how I was talking to myself in some ways. I know what football fans want to see.
“Ability aside, I knew I worked hard. I knew I gave everything for the team and I know fans respect that. They expect it. As long as I was doing that, I knew my ability would get me to a place.
“That was the basic [level] that I needed to do, to work hard. I knew if I played to the ability I expected myself then naturally that relationship would grow and grow and get better.”