Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has called recent criticism of his performances “rubbish,” and has vowed to continue giving his best for the team.
Manchester United suffered through a string of three defeats over eight days before returning to winning ways in a 3-1 EFL Cup defeat of Northampton Town on Wednesday.
Rooney, 30, has suffered increased criticism as he struggles to find an ideal role within Jose Mourinho’s team. Though the England international says he’s not paying it any attention.
“I think I’ve had that [criticism] my whole career — a little bit more of late, I think, but that’s football,” Rooney told United’s website on Thursday.
“I listen to my coaches and my teammates, the people around me, and I don’t really listen to what a lot of people out there are saying because a lot of it is rubbish.
“I have to focus, work hard, of course, and I’ve done that throughout my career. I’ve worked hard and tried to do my best for the team.”
The former Everton forward accepted that United’s recent run of poor results would only intensify the criticism the team faced. But he added that the players’ response is what matters now.
“That’s football, I think,” he added. “We don’t win in three games and, of course, everyone is going to talk about it.
“We had a bad week, a bad eight days where we’ve lost three games, and it’s important now we react well to that and come through that.”
The debate over Rooney’s best position has been a constant throughout the young season. Former manager Louis van Gaal sometimes deployed Rooney in a midfield role but new boss Jose Mourinho prefers to have him further forward.
Rooney added: “I’ve done that [played in different positions] throughout my career. I feel I can play in all positions but I think the manager has made it clear either I’ll play up front or in the No. 10 [role] and that’s where he sees me playing.”
United were largely outplayed by City in the recent derby, despite a final scoreline of 2-1, and the side from the Etihad Stadium have made a superb start to the season.
Rooney, however, is relishing the prospect of another derby clash next month after the sides were drawn in the fourth round of the EFL Cup.
He said: “For me, I think it’s the perfect draw. With what happened in the league, it’s a chance for us to get revenge for that result.”