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Boxing calms Rooney as he aims to KO Bayern

Wayne Rooney has revealed he gets the punch bag out if he wants to get rid of some excess anger.

The Manchester United star is no longer the firebrand he was in his younger days. But the 24-year-old, who aims to down Bayern Munich in the Champions League tonight, retains a competitive edge that occasionally needs an outlet.

When those situations occur, Rooney is happy to pull the boxing gloves on, as he learned to do when he was still at school. "I used to do boxing and football," he said. "I was training every night with one of them and when I got to about 15 Everton said I had to stop boxing if I wanted to carry on playing football. I can still do a bit now after training. It is a good way to get rid of some anger."

Rooney has established himself as one of the most feared forwards in Europe, however, Ferguson believes Rio Ferdinand's return is even more crucial to United's chances of a record seventh successive away win in the competition.

"The return of Ferdinand and Vidic to keep our back four solid is significant," said Ferguson. "Along with Edwin van der Sar there was a time when all those players were injured. It wasn't easy and we were very fragile. But you can see the solidity now. It is a true saying: strong at the back, strong as a team. We are looking very strong now."

With Chelsea to follow on Saturday, Ferguson is now aware that Vidic will escape FA action for his challenge on Johan Elmander that Owen Coyle labelled a "terrible tackle". The United camp did not see the incident in the same way, and neither did referee Martin Atkinson.

"What is the old saying about people in glass houses?" countered Ferguson. "At half-time Vidic had a lump on his head the size of an egg, his jaw was swollen and he had a black eye.

"I didn't see them all but I know it was the best central defensive performance in the world this weekend."