Wayne Rooney delighted with decision to stay at Man Utd

By Phil McNultyChief football writer
Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney says he is optimistic about his future at Old Trafford

Wayne Rooney admits his decision to drop his demand to leave Manchester United and stay at Old Trafford has turned out to be the best move of his career.

Rooney, 25, signed a new five-year contract in October just 48 hours after announcing his intention to leave, also issuing a statement casting doubt on the quality of Sir Alex Ferguson's squad.

The striker, with the England squad for the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Wales, has since helped United win a record 19th domestic title and reach the Champions League final, where they lost to Barcelona.

And Rooney has started this season in devastating form, with five goals in three successive Premier League wins that have put United at the top of the table.

He said: "I'm thankful I ended up staying and signing because I said at the time after I signed my new contract that I had made a mistake and I owed performances and goals to the fans for what happened.

"It's the best decision I've made in football career. To still be there and enjoying it, winning things and seeing the team coming through and playing the way it is, is fantastic. The average age of the side in the last two games has been 23. That's great for the future for us and hopefully we can bring more success to Old Trafford.

"What I did say at the time was wrong and I admitted that. We've brought players in, which is great. I'm enjoying playing with these younger players. It is not only going forward where they help us, they do a bit more running as well which is always good for me.

"I'm enjoying it. I'm in a happy place both on and off the pitch. We're playing a different way, a lot more high pressure on the opposing team and playing with a lot more energy and pace and that's certainly helping us."

Rooney also gave his support to United's new 20-year keeper David de Gea, who has had uncertain moments since his £18.9m summer move from Atletico Madrid.

He said: "I think he's obviously a good shot stopper. I hadn't seen much of him before he signed but he is a good shot stopper and his passing out from the back is alongside Edwin Van der Sar's. He very rarely kicks long to a forward, he always tries to pick someone out.

"He's still young and got a lot to learn but he's working hard and doing well in training. He's a strong character. After the Manchester City game and then West Bromwich Albion he didn't seem to be too affected by the fact that not everything went for him. He was on the training pitch the next day working hard and in the last couple of games he's done well for us. I think he will only get better the more he plays."

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