Wayne Rooney has played down criticisms over his performance in the new striking role he has played since the commencement of the season. The England and United captain insists that he has had only one poor game which was Friday’s 1-0 win against Aston Villa.
“It’s early on in the season,” Rooney said. “Three games in, it’s time for me to keep going. I’ve experienced this before and the goals will come, I know that.”
Rooney was disappointed with his display at Villa Park but happier with his performance in United’s 3-1 win over Club Brugge at Old Trafford on Tuesday, when he had a shot cleared off the line.
“I’m an honest guy,” he added. “I know when I don’t play well and against Aston Villa I was below my standards. I know that. I thought I had a good game [on Tuesday], could have had a goal or two, but that’s football. It was a great night for us, obviously, getting the victory and hopefully we’ll kick on from there.”
Rooney was United’s 14-goal top scorer last season, despite spending much of the campaign in midfield, but with Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao at new clubs, he has been installed as the main centre-forward by manager Louis Van Gaal. And the third-highest scorer in United’s history is ready to accept the responsibility for finding the net.
“I understand I have to be the one who’s going to lead that line for us and try and [get] the goals for us,” he said. “My mind’s clear. I know how to play the role. It’s just a case of getting the chances and taking them which I’m hopefully going to do soon.”
While Rooney’s wait for a goal goes on, summer signing Memphis Depay opened his account with a brace against Club Brugge before substitute Marouane Fellaini added an injury-time third. And Rooney believes the whole side have to contribute, explaining: “Memphis has chipped in with two goals and Felli’s came on and got a goal. “It’s important that we all chip in. He [Depay] managed to get off the mark this season. I’ve had one bad game this season and everyone’s all over it. I know, I’ve had that throughout my career but hopefully at the weekend I can get off the mark.”
United face Newcastle, who have been favourite opponents of Rooney’s in the past, next, and he added: “I’ve always enjoyed playing against Newcastle, so hopefully on Saturday I can open my scoring.”