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Rooney back to his best thanks to a rest

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 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. "The fitness coach gave me a programme to follow but I left it behind.

"I was a couple of kilos over when I came 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.


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."

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.

"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."