Wayne Rooney says he wanted to finish career at Man United
Record goalscorer says he would have stayed in ideal world but feels he left at right time
England’s Wayne Rooney during a training session at St George’s Park, Burton. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Wayne Rooney has admitted he misses Manchester United and wanted to end his career there — but insists he ended up leaving the club at the right time.
The 33-year-old is back in England and is set to make a final appearance for the Three Lions in a friendly against the United States on Thursday night.
Rooney won five Premier League titles during his time at United — as well as the Champions League, Europa League, the FA Cup and three League Cups.
He is also the club’s all-time leading goalscorer having made 559 appearances for the Red Devils between 2004 and 2017.
He fell down the pecking order at Old Trafford under Jose Mourinho, starting seven of the final 19 Premier League games of the season — returning to boyhood club Everton before a move to Major League Soccer side DC United followed this summer.
“Of course you miss it,” he told MUTV of his time in Manchester.
“It was the highlight of my career, playing for Man United and I was there for so long. But it was the right time.
“I wasn’t playing, first of all. I have always been a player who wants to play. Obviously I spoke to the manager and it didn’t look like I was going to play, so it was the right decision and the right time for me to go.
“Obviously, you wish, the ideal situation was staying there and finishing your career there, but football changes. Different things happen and things happen for a reason.”
Rooney’s final United appearance was as a late substitute in the Europa League victory over Ajax — meaning he never got to say a proper goodbye to his former home.
“It would have been nice to have done it at Old Trafford,” he added.
“But I have been back there a few times and I will be back over the Christmas period, at a game to watch them.
“I left with great memories. I had a new opportunity to go and play in the States. I had a great time at United, though, and again I am looking forward to going back and seeing a few of my team-mates, and a few friends from the staff who I have made along the way.
“The fans have been brilliant to me and it will be nice to see a few familiar faces when I go to a game over Christmas.”