Rather remarkably, Wayne Rooney never considered himself a natural goalscorer.
Throughout a hugely successful career, Wayne Rooney scored goals for fun for club and country and many consider him the greatest English forward of all time.
Rooney admits that he enjoyed his football more in the latter stages of his career, when he was asked to drop deep and affect the game from midfield.
“I’ve never looked at myself, ever, as a natural goalscorer,” Rooney said on the UTD Podcast. “Obviously I have scored a lot of goals in my career, but I would never say I was a Michael Owen, a Gary Lineker, or a Harry Kane type of player.
“I have enjoyed the game too much to be that. I have done it twice at Man United in two seasons, when I was the no. 9, a solo no. 9, and I scored a lot of goals.
“But to be honest I remember coming off the pitch and thinking ‘I didn’t enjoy that, I didn’t enjoy the game’. I enjoyed scoring, obviously, and winning the game if we won, but I didn’t enjoy the game and I found it difficult to just wait up the pitch.
15 years ago today: A teenage Wayne Rooney, who was about to be substituted and was arguing with the referee, scored one of the best goals of his career 🚀
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) April 24, 2020
“It is important to be patient and that, but I like to get involved a bit more and that has obviously allowed me over the last few years to drop back into midfield and be able to play there as well.”
Rooney surpassed Bobby Charlton’s goalscoring record for United in 2017, having done the same for England two years earlier, but he doesn’t expect his records to last forever.
In fact, Rooney doesn’t even consider himself United’s greatest goalscorer and he believes that former teammate Ruud van Nistelrooy should have gone on to claim the scoring record.
Rooney continued: “I think I’ve had time and I’ve obviously had a long career to get the Man United record and the England record, and to become the most capped outfield player for England.
“For instance, in two years’ time, Harry Kane will, barring injury, pass my England goals record because he is more of a natural goalscorer than I am.
“Ruud van Nistelrooy, if he had more time here, he would have gone on to get the United record. Obviously it is great and I am really proud to have those records, but it is not something I look at it. It says ‘Man United’s greatest goalscorer’ but I wouldn’t say I am Man United’s greatest goalscorer.”