OUT-OF-SORTS Manchester United striker has put his relationship with club boss Sir Alex Ferguson by insisting that he has not been suffering from an ankle injury in the past month.
Asked if his goalless performance during England’s 0-0 draw in Montenegro on Tuesday had anything to do with his ankle, Rooney said:
I’ve had no problems with my ankle all season. None. I’ve been training for the last two months. I haven’t missed a training session, so there’s no problem with my fitness.
The statement is a direct contradiction of Ferguson’s excuse for Rooney’s omission in recent club fixtures, who said the striker had been suffering from a “niggling” injury to the ankle that would sideline him for three weeks.
Asked why Ferguson had provided the unusual excuse for his club absences, Rooney simply smiled and said:
I don’t know.
The development means that the forward – who has found the net just twice since the end of March, once from a penalty, while rumours swirled about alleged indiscretions in his private life – was more likely dropped based on his poor form than out of physical necessity.
The 24-year-old was determined, however, to shake off his current sluggish form.
“I’ve been through this before and, once a goal goes in, I’m sure I will get more. But it’s just about getting that first goal.
“If I have chances and don’t score, then I’m disappointed. But there are a lot of games left in the season, so I’m sure I can start scoring soon. I actually felt sharp and better against Montenegro.”
Rio Ferdinand has backed Rooney to get out of his current slump, saying that sometimes “with strikers you just need that little bit of luck in front of goal.
The striker is expected to feature in United’s home game this Saturday against West Brom – a match that may also feature long-term injury concern Owen Hargreaves, who had suffered a relapse of his chronic tendinitis over the summer.