Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Rudeboy Rooney

Rooney: No nerves over penalty

November 24, 2010

Wayne Rooney says he felt no nerves standing over the late penalty that sealed Manchester United's victory over Rangers in the Champions League.

Wayne Rooney
PA PhotosA fan enters the field to celebrate Wayne Rooney's late penalty

Just four minutes remained when Fabio was felled by Steven Naismith and Rooney was handed the responsibility of despatching the spot kick that secured United's passage to the last 16 of the competition.

It also signalled Rooney's return in a season scarred by personal problems, loss of form, injury and that amazing week last month which started with a fear that he would leave Old Trafford and ended with the 25-year-old signing a new five-year contract.

"There were not many nerves really,'' said Rooney. "I knew what I was doing and where I was going. I can only do that. If the keeper guesses the right way and saves it, so be it. Thankfully it went in.

"Obviously it is a bit of a relief for me to score. Hopefully I can build on this now.''

Rooney's only other goal this season came from the penalty spot too, against West Ham in August, and he was quick to race away to the United section of a packed Ibrox, another step forward in rebuilding his relationship with the club's fans.

"I wanted to celebrate with our fans,'' he said. "It is always nice to beat Rangers away. Hopefully I can go on a goalscoring run now but really I am just delighted to be back playing again.

"I felt good. I felt fit throughout the game. I want to build on this performance and this goal.''

Rooney's manager Sir Alex Ferguson hailed Rooney's courage for taking the match winning penalty. "It took a lot of courage to take the penalty kick,'' Ferguson said on ITV 1. "It was not an easy night, he missed a couple of chances but that's what you expect with the rustiness in his game. We are pleased for him.

He added: "Every time he scores a goal he wants to celebrate with the fans and players.'' On Rooney's fitness, the Scot added: "He's got a bit to go.'' A draw against Valencia would see United top the group.

"We want to go and win the group,'' added Ferguson. "We've got Valencia at home, we can look forward to that.''

United were awarded the penalty when Steven Naismith was penalised for a dangerous challenge on Fabio, catching him in the face with his foot as he looked to hook the ball away.

"Little bit disappointed to lose out to that type of goal. I don't think there was any great intent in Steven Naismith's challenge,'' Rangers boss Walter Smith said.

Rangers are at least guaranteed third place in the group and a place in the Europa League. "We are happy on one respect that we do have European football after Christmas,'' added Smith.