Rooney’s summer formula – ignore advice of Man U fitness coach
Wayne Rooney has revealed the masterplan behind his flying start to the season - completely ignoring Manchester United's fitness coach.
As with all his team-mates, Rooney headed into the summer with a detailed list of dos and don'ts from Tony Strudwick, aimed at ensuring he was in the best possible shape for the start of pre-season.
Instead, Rooney listened to his body.
After a difficult 15 months - when he struggled with a succession of ankle problems, his form dipped to the lowest of his career and he became embroiled in a well-publicised contract saga - the 25-year-old had recovered to land his fourth Premier League title.
Rather than more work, Rooney felt he needed a rest. So he took one.
"At the end of the season, I made a decision to do no training whatsoever in the summer," revealed the 25-year-old.
"I honestly didn't lift any weights or run. Nothing.
"The fitness coach gave me a programme to follow but I left it behind.
"I had to watch what I was eating because I am the type of person who could easily put on a lot of weight.
"I was a couple of kilos over when I came back to training but it's easy enough to lose with the work we do in pre-season and I certainly feel that has benefited me."
The results were there for everyone to see at Old Trafford on Sunday when he bagged a hat-trick in the 8-2 annihilation of Arsenal.
How England boss Fabio Capello could do with something similar from a player who has scored only one goal for his country in the past two years when they visit Bulgaria on Friday for a crucial Euro 2012 qualifier.
Nothing can be guaranteed of course. However, if nothing else, the striker feels in the right frame of mind.
"There have been times when I have been more aggressive and gone in for silly challenges," he said.
"But I am not really doing that any more and I am in a happy place, both on and off the pitch. Sometimes it happens and it's hard to control. But if you stay in control, your performances will be better. And at the moment, I feel good."
Rooney refutes the allegation that 2010 was a lost year. Yet even this mentally strong character admits there were times during his prolonged dip in form when he felt unable to find a solution.
"It was frustrating because I knew I could do better," he said.
"I was working hard but things weren't coming off. It is hard to come to terms with that.
"It would have been quite easy to lose confidence.
"Obviously I saw people on TV or in the newspapers questioning me but in a way that helped because I wanted to prove they were wrong.
"It made me more angry and willing to get back to doing it."