Rooney finally apologises to fans and says he would never have joined City

Striker 'delighted' to stay at United and claims he would only have considered move abroad from Old Trafford

Wayne Rooney has finally provided an apology for questioning Manchester United's transfer strategy in the course of securing his new contract and has secured some credit among fans by declaring that he would have moved abroad before signing for Manchester City.

Rooney's calm penalty against Rangers on Wednesday, which sealed Champions League qualification, came on a night when another broadcast interview failed to elicit the apology for "hurting" the team which Sir Alex Ferguson had said would be forthcoming. The one Rooney finally offered to newspaper journalists as he left Ibrox was qualified. "I feel like I have apologised to the fans but everyone keeps saying that I haven't. If that is the case, then I apologise for my side of things."

His scornful insistence that a move to City had never entered his mind will go down well at Old Trafford, though. "Everyone is saying that I was definitely going to Man City," he said. "Believe me, if I had gone it wouldn't have been in England." The prospect of Rooney playing on the continent has actually always seemed highly improbable.

Rooney's 87th-minute goal to clinch a 1-0 win saw him equal Sir Bobby Charlton's 22-goal European tally for United, with Paul Scholes' and Ryan Giggs' totals reachable within this campaign and only Denis Law and Ruud van Nistelrooy out ahead. He has said he can now go on one of his characteristic goalscoring runs: his last goal from open play in the Premier League, deposited early in the victory over Liverpool on 21 March, was his eighth in five games for the club.

"It was typical of Wayne to put himself up there to take the penalty," said Michael Carrick. "It was a great finish to a good night."

Rooney, who has started only six games this season, said it was that disruption that had stunted the campaign rather than any "disaster" with his form. "I don't think I have consistently had a run of games this season. People are saying how bad I have been playing but I don't think I have played that many games for my form to have been a disaster. With everything that has happened it all goes a bit overboard but I know myself I have been through patches before when I haven't played well but I have come through them. I know 100 per cent I will come through this one."

Though Rooney declared when he was fighting to save his marriage two months ago that he was experiencing "hurt", he has now insisted that he has retained mental strength. His willingness to risk the ridicule of the Ibrox crowd, which had booed him on Wednesday night, by taking the penalty, does bear that out. "Mentally I have been okay," Rooney said. "I am mentally strong. Because the football has not been going well and the other things that have happened everyone has put it down to not being mentally strong enough but I am. Obviously the most important thing for me at the minute is to play and score goals."

The 25-year-old's Celtic allegiances also appear to have helped him on Wednesday. "It is well known I follow Celtic," he said. "It is always a special moment [to score] at Rangers."

Rooney has returned from his training break in Oregon looking perhaps half a stone lighter and it was clear from the striker's comments that his manager did not give him any say in the decision to go away for that week earlier this month. "Well, I wasn't going to argue with him," he said. "I needed to get the training in and if that is what they wanted me to do then I was happy to do it and it worked out well."

Though Rooney has remained adamant that he was well within his rights to challenge United's ambition, he said that leaving Old Trafford could have been the biggest mistake he ever made. "You see so many players leave this club and not do so well, so I am just delighted I have stayed," he said.

The Danish goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard has insisted that he can handle the pressure of a move from Norwegian club Aalesunds to United, despite his compatriot Peter Schmeichel suggesting the 26-year-old might not be good enough to play for them. "I have got used to a very physical league in Norway," Lindegaard said. "Here the goalkeepers are the same as outfield players. They are in no way protected by opponents or team-mates."

Of his probable move, he said: "All that money – I don't understand it – but it's not about that. It is about respect for and enjoyment of the game."

Sorry is the hardest word

Wayne Rooney said he felt he had already apologised to United's fans but here's what he had actually said.

22 October

"For me it's about winning trophies. Because of that, the questions I [asked] were justified. I've talked to the manager and owners and they convinced me this is where I belong. I am sure the fans have felt let down. But my position was from concern over the future. The fans have been brilliant with me and it's up to me to win them over again."


"I had my concerns and voiced my opinion. The press have probably made a big issue out of nothing. I would be lying if I said I wasn't worried about the reaction from fans but the reception I got was brilliant. It was a great feeling, after being out for a long time. The main thing is that we managed to agree that deal."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Sudan, the last male northern white rhino
environmentThe death of a white northern rhino in Kenya has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells