MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Sep 23 – Wayne Rooney has hit back at those questioning his place in the Manchester United starting XI by branding the criticism as “rubbish”.
Rooney has been singled out as a contributory factor in United’s run of three defeats from the last four games, despite the England skipper lying just three goals short of equaling Sir Bobby Charlton’s club record tally of 249.
Teenager Marcus Rashford has netted from the bench in United’s last two games to further heighten the pressure on Rooney.
But the 30-year-old told MUTV: “I think I’ve had that my whole career – a little bit more of late, I think, but that’s football.
“I listen to my coaches and my team-mates, the people around me, and I don’t really listen to what a lot of people out there are saying because a lot of it is rubbish.
“I have to focus, work hard, of course, and I’ve done that throughout my career. I’ve worked hard and tried to do my best for the team.”
Rooney’s best position is also a subject of debate after he spent much of last season – and the summer’s European Championships – in a deeper central midfield role.
But new United boss Jose Mourinho has made it clear that Rooney will be deployed in the ‘number 10’ slot and that remains the most natural position for the ex-Everton forward.
“I’ve done that [played in different positions] throughout my career,” he added.
“I feel I can play in all positions but I think the manager has made it clear either I’ll play up front or in the number 10 [role] and that’s where he sees me playing.”