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Friday 9 December 2016

Wayne Rooney: I'll break Man United duck against Liverpool

Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney hopes his record-breaking achievements with England will inspire him to break his duck for Manchester United against Liverpool on Saturday.

The Manchester United captain surpassed his hero Sir Bobby Charlton in the scoring charts on Tuesday with a late penalty in England's 2-0 win over Switzerland.

Rooney has now scored nine goals in his last 10 England appearances, but for United, he has struggled of late.

The 29-year-old has not scored in his last 10 Premier League games, but he hopes that will change on Saturday when Liverpool come to Old Trafford for Louis van Gaal's biggest game of the year so far.

''To achieve what I have, I would be lying if I said it didn't put a spring in my step and make you want to carry on (scoring),'' the United captain said.

''I am very happy and grateful, but I go back to Manchester, get back into training and start focusing on Liverpool.

''Hopefully getting two goals in the last two games will mean I continue scoring.

"There's no better game to go into than Liverpool at home after losing our last game it is a game we have to win and it's something I'm looking forward to."

Rooney's United and England team-mate Chris Smalling expects the striker to be brimming with confidence on Saturday after scoring his 50th goal for the Three Lions.

"If you come back off a good performance and breaking a record it can only be good for motivation and confidence and I think we will see a flying Wayne Rooney come Saturday," the United defender said.

"Scoring in the last two games and his performances have been good - it will only lead to more."

After giving a brief yet purposeful speech to his team-mates following the game, Rooney turned on his phone to see he had received swathes of congratulatory messages.

Alex Ferguson was not one of them at the time - but Rooney said he would catch up with the Scot on United's next European away trip to Eindhoven next week.

Touchingly, one of the first messages he received was from Charlton.

"I've had loads of messages, but I've only read a few," Rooney said.

"I had one off Sir Bobby which was good, saying 'you played well, congratulations'. That means a lot for me - to break his record and for him to get in touch straight away. I'm grateful for that.

"That was one of the first ones."

Rooney admitted to being nervous as he placed the ball on the spot shortly after Raheem Sterling was brought down in the box.

What followed after the ball struck the back of the net was an outpouring of emotion.

"I'm not really an emotional person at times but I was a bit overwhelmed," he said.

"I was very nervous. I didn't see them at the time, but the lads said there were flashlights in the crowd and it was like being at a concert.

"I just composed myself and knew which corner I was going. I just thought 'put your boot through the ball and if the keeper stops it it'll have to be a great save'. Thankfully the power took it in."

Having committed to play at least another three years for his country, Rooney will have many opportunities to go well beyond his current tally.

The man himself is not prepared to estimate how many more he has left in him, however.

''I won't put a target on how many goals (I can score), but I am happy the record has gone,'' he said.

What will drive him on to go well beyond the 50 mark is a fear of losing his place.

He said: "I train every day as if my place is on the line and I have always done that throughout my career.

"When you get older and have played a lot of games you become more aware of that."

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