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Wayne Rooney: As former Premier League star rolls sushi in Dubai, his ideas flip to Alex Ferguson



CNN
 — 

Wayne Rooney holds down the bamboo mat with one sinewy hand whereas the opposite is busy mixing rice into slices of salmon and avocado.

Carefully, the previous Premier League footballer, sporting a vibrant orange apron, moisturizes the mix with vinegar and water, earlier than wrapping it in one of many toasted seaweed sheets often known as nori.

After wetting his knife, Rooney slowly cuts the pillar of sushi into bite-sized chunks, standing again to examine his handiwork.

“I doubt anyone’s going to want to eat this,” he smiles bashfully, turning crimson as he realizes he’s not fairly nearly as good together with his arms as together with his ft.

Rolling sushi with CNN in a Dubai restaurant, 230 meters above the long-lasting man-made island referred to as Palm Jumeirah, is a far cry from the district of Croxteth in Liverpool, the place Rooney was born.

Rooney is warmly welcomed by resident sushi chef, Moon Kyung Soo, who can not comprise his pleasure at assembly a former teammate of 1 his nation’s idols, South Korean Park Ji-Sung. The pair hit it off, and chef Moon proudly names the completed concoction “The Rooney Roll.”

The Japanese dish isn’t a typical menu merchandise on the Rooney family, admits the previous Manchester United participant, who says his pallet is extra accustomed to spaghetti bolognese or stir-fry.

The 37-year-old’s food regimen is emblematic of his character – regardless of enjoying top-level soccer for almost 20 years, he’s not flashy or immodest, and is sort of embarrassed to be on digicam.

Wearing a black baseball cap, unironed chinos and an unassuming polo shirt, it’s telling that fairly than his mercurial dribbling skill, boxer-like energy or lightning-quick tempo, Rooney believes his work ethic was as an alternative his greatest energy on the pitch.

“That’s an ability … the biggest skill you can have. Every day, that’s probably what I’m most proud of,” Rooney tells CNN’s Becky Anderson, whereas overlooking a spotlight of town’s skyline, the world’s highest statement wheel, Ain Dubai.

England’s record-goal scorer is on the town forward of the Globe Soccer Awards, a global ceremony which celebrates the very best the game has to supply.

The nominees for finest males’s participant embrace latest Ballon D’Or winner Karim Benzema and the Frenchman’s Real Madrid teammate, Thibaut Courtois. In the ladies’s class, FC Barcelona star Alexia Putellas and England defender Lucy Bronze are up for competition.

CNN has partnered with the awards, now in its thirteenth version, to launch the CNN Off the Pitch class at this 12 months’s ceremony on November 17. The award will acknowledge the achievements of a person, membership or different soccer group for his or her influence on wider society and tradition in addition to charitable work.

Rooney himself is nominated for an award celebrating his enjoying profession – and his two-decade lengthy rollercoaster experience on the high of the game was undoubtedly one thing particular.

“The outstanding moment … is with my team when you win a trophy and you lift that and the celebrations you have initially after that game. That’s what you work so hard for … That’s why you play,” Rooney reminisces.

“Actually, the best one was the first Premier League trophy we won,” he reveals, referring to Manchester United’s title success within the 2006/2007 season.

“I was actually sat at home… and if Chelsea didn’t win, we won the league. I had my clothes ironed ready to go out, but I didn’t want to jinx anything. Anyway, Chelsea didn’t win so I just remember the phone going off and we had a great night.”

The mercurial expertise made his Premier League debut for his dwelling membership Everton in 2002 on the age of 16. His debut objective – a surprising strike that rocketed previous then Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman – has gone down in Premier League folklore

Earmarked because the excellent expertise of his era, Rooney went on to turn out to be the primary man to attain 50 targets for the England nationwide staff, additionally overtaking Bobby Charlton’s long-held document as Manchester United’s top-scorer. Along the way in which, he gained 5 league titles and performed in three Champions League finals.

You may assume that after such a grueling profession, {that a} much-needed break was on the playing cards for Rooney. But on the age of 37, he has as an alternative turned his consideration to teaching.

He relocated to Washington in July, to handle D.C. United, a staff he spent a while enjoying with. It gained’t be a straightforward job contemplating the franchise completed backside of the MLS Eastern Conference, however that doesn’t appear to hassle Rooney.

D.C. United head coach Wayne Rooney before an MLS match in August.

“I love it. Trying to develop players, young players, but also having that relationship with the more senior players, and trying to develop them.”

“The appealing thing, obviously going back to D.C. and going in as head coach for me was if you look at all the big teams and the culture, it’s so diverse with different nationalities, different religions.”

While Rooney is joyful stateside for now, it’s clear his long-term ambitions lie nearer to dwelling.

“Obviously Everton and Manchester United are the two clubs who are really close to my heart so to manage one of them two would be a dream,” he admits, the latter at present coached by his former England teammate, Frank Lampard.

“I’m nonetheless gaining a variety of expertise from what I’m doing. You need to be taught, and I need to go into Everton or Manchester United, I need to go in there and be capable of give the very best model of me.

“I’d be naive to say, ‘I’m going to go and manage Manchester United in the next year or so.’ For me it’s about putting the work in and developing myself and if I do that and I do it in the right way, then I feel these jobs, these opportunities will come to me eventually.”

Rooney’s tenure at DC United comes after a tumultuous reign at English facet Derby County.

The membership went into administration after money owed spiraled and it did not play gamers their wages. Deducted factors for monetary mismanagement, Derby was ultimately relegated, however Rooney was praised for his efforts to maintain them within the Championship, English soccer’s second tier.

Wayne Rooney gives his team instructions during a Derby County game.

“I’m happy with what we achieved there … we have been relegated however with out the deductions we might’ve stayed within the division.

“There was so many difficulties in what we were facing and obstacles for us to try and get over,” Rooney laments.

“I give them [sic] players so much praise because I think it was 21 debuts from the academy … There are players who maybe didn’t even have a career in football who now have [one].”

If he’s on the lookout for recommendation, Rooney has no scarcity of mentors to attract from.

David Moyes, now West Ham supervisor, handed him his debut as a 16-year-old in 2002, La Liga winner Fabio Capello coached him for a spell at England, and Rooney completed his United profession beneath two-time Champions League champion José Mourinho.

But he says his greatest affect was the Manchester membership’s most profitable coach, Alex Ferguson, who signed him for the membership for a then-record sum for an adolescent of almost $50 million.

“He was nice to play for, he’s the rationale I signed for Manchester United to play for him. The finest recommendation I obtained … was from Alex Ferguson, [and it] was [that] the toughest factor to do in life is to work laborious day-after-day. And that’s the very best. That’s all the time caught with me.

Then Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson congratulates Wayne Rooney after his final Premier League title win in 2013.

“From a football point of view, coaching point of view, of course you’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to get things wrong, but there’s no excuse really to not work.”

Manchester United has seen scant success since Ferguson retired in 2013. The 20-time English league winner has seen derby rivals Manchester City outpace them on and off the sector because the takeover of the membership by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008.

Erik ten Hag took over the teaching reins in the summertime and the Dutchman has notched just a few spectacular wins which have lifted the temper round Old Trafford. While Rooney was in Dubai, targets from Fred and Bruno Fernandes gave the Manchester membership a dominant victory over Tottenham Hotspur.

“It’s the best I’ve seen Manchester United for a long time,” says Rooney. “I think you can see what he’s trying to do. High energy, high press with the team and it was very difficult for Tottenham to play against.”

The solely black mark on that efficiency was star participant Cristiano Ronaldo strolling down the tunnel with a number of minutes left to play as a result of he didn’t get on the pitch. Ten Haag later suspended the participant, however Ronaldo’s clear need to play, is a constructive signal for a coach, based on Rooney.

“Football’s emotional and you want players who want to be on the pitch. I don’t mind a player coming off and not being happy. I’ve done it myself,” says Rooney, who performed with Ronaldo throughout his most profitable interval at United.

If Rooney has any regrets from his enjoying profession, it’s his efficiency for England at worldwide tournaments.

At the age of 18, Rooney grew to become the youngest scorer in European Championship historical past – a document that solely stood for 4 days after the Englishman’s landmark was taken by Switzerland’s Johan Vonlanthen at Euro 2004.

Rooney celebrates scoring a goal at Wembley in 2015, breaking the record for most international goals for England.

When he set the document, Rooney grabbed two targets in England’s second group sport, a 3-0 defeat of Switzerland. He then broke a bone in his foot within the quarterfinal defeat by Portugal when England misplaced on penalties.

Two years later Rooney was infamously despatched off at towards Portugal on the 2006 World Cup for lashing out at then membership teammate Ronaldo.

Despite enjoying as a part of a staff containing English icons reminiscent of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, often known as the “Golden Generation,” Rooney by no means gained a trophy with the nationwide facet.

“We were unlucky a few times,” Rooney laments. “Obviously in the Euros, 2004, 2006 World Cup, getting knocked out on penalties, both at the quarterfinal stage. And, again, that’s that little bit of luck you need, if you go through there, you potentially go on to win the competition.”

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