Make mine another decade with Manchester United, says Wayne Rooney
Striker marks 10 years in Premier League by declaring desire to stay as long as he is wanted
The Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney wants to spend the next decade with the club.
The 26-year-old famously backtracked after making a transfer request two years ago and there has been further speculation over his future in recent weeks. But the England international now regards his past attempt to leave as a big mistake and insists he wants to stay at Old Trafford as long as he can.
Rooney, who joined United from Everton in 2004, has now been playing in the top flight for 10 years. When asked where he saw himself in another 10 years, Rooney said: "Hopefully, still here at Man Utd. That's the aim, the plan and what I want to do. As long as this club wants me, I'll be here and trying to be successful."
Rooney regrets the furore he caused when he decided to seek a move. "Sometimes as a player you make bad choices and bad decisions, and I think that's what happened," he said. "Sometimes you see yourself somewhere else and that can play on your mind and make you say or do things you shouldn't have done. I realised I had made a mistake. I went back in to see [United's chief executive] David Gill and the manager [Sir Alex Ferguson]. I told them I wanted to stay and be successful in the future."
Of the recent speculation, which has followed the club's signing of Robin van Persie, Rooney said: "I saw that but I didn't think anything of it. If the manager didn't want me around, I'm sure I'd be the first one he'd tell. That stuff you have to deal with but if I'm wanted at this football club, I'll be at this football club as long as possible."
Rooney has conducted a series of interviews to coincide with the launch of his latest autobiography, My Decade in the Premier League. Throughout his time in football the forward has always had a reputation for hot-headedness but he believes he is now a more mature character.
He attributes that to becoming a father and learning a lesson from the ban he received after swearing at a TV camera at West Ham in April last year. "That was the biggest moment where I realised that was wrong and stupid and I need to change," he said. "I have tried to do that and feel I have. It wasn't great so, hopefully, that won't happen again."
Rooney became a parent when his son Kai was born in 2009. "You want to try to do right by your kids," he added. "When the incident happened at West Ham and I swore down the camera I was really disappointed with myself. I have made a conscious decision to try to stop silly things like that. I don't really want my kids seeing their dad doing that on TV."
Rooney enjoys working with Ferguson despite recent claims from outside the club that their relationship is an uneasy one. Rooney said: "It is incredible for him to be doing what he has been doing for so long and be so successful.
"Just watching him and working with someone who has done it so many times and continues to do it, that desire and winning mentality, it's incredible to be part of."
Rooney is out injured after suffering a horrendous gash in his leg in a challenge from Fulham's Hugo Rodallega a fortnight ago. He was initially ruled out for around a month and, despite some reports he could be out longer, he feels his recovery is on track.
"It is feeling good at the minute and is healing quite well, but it is basically down to the doctor," Rooney said. "You have to be careful and I don't want to come back too soon because I could get a bang on it and it would open up again. We said at the time there was a four-week scale and that would be the case, I imagine."
When he does return to action, Rooney is relishing the prospect of another title battle with Manchester City. City pipped their rivals on goal difference on the final day last season but Rooney is determined to reverse that outcome.
He said: "I'm sure with the history of the club, the success, the fan base, this club will always be challenging. Obviously, City have come now and have got some fantastic players and a great team, but sometimes it is that challenge that brings the best out of you. Hopefully, we can do that and get that title back."
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