Rooney inks new I-League deal

Australian striker Sean Rooney has signed a new one-year deal with Bengaluru FC after winning the I-League.

Bengaluru FC took out the title last week with a game to spare after the club defeated Dempo SC 4-2. 

Rooney, a former Newcastle Jets forward, scored 10 goals, the second highest for Bengaluru FC this season behind Indian international and league top-scorer Sunil Chhetri with 14. 

“We got a good result," Rooney said.

"We knew that we needed one win from our last two games so we wanted to get it against Dempo SC. It was a good feeling we got it with one game to go.”

Rooney opened the scoring in the 2nd minute and, with Bengaluru FC racing to a 3-0 lead, he was substituted with the match seemingly won.

“It was quick thrown-in in our half, our captain threw it down to the wing to our striker and he crossed it and I was just there to put it in,” he said.

“It was good work by the other two boys, smart thinking, and I was just there to finish it off.”

But with Dempo pulling two goals back with five minutes left, it was nervous finish until Bengaluru scored their fourth to kill off the match.

“It was scary, but luckily for us we got the fourth and they didn’t score,” Rooney said. “I was biting my nails.”

The 25-year old is looking forward to another year with the new I-League champions and will begin pre-season in July.

“I was very keen to stay at the club,” Rooney said.

“It’s been a good year, a great year, and we’ve got the AFC Cup coming up. We'll also try and qualify for the Asian Champions League, we’re in for the qualifying round for that as well.”

India is growing in popularity as a destination for Australian footballers and coaches and Rooney, who is in his second stint on the sub-continent after a brief stay with Salgaocar in 2012, is enjoying his time in the I-League.

“The first time I went there it was - I can’t say it was a bad experience because you learn from every experience - but it wasn’t a memorable experience and I was pretty hesitant to go back to India when I got asked to go back the second time,” he said.

“But it’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever done football-wise. I had a good season, we won the league, it’s the first thing I’ve won as a player pretty much. It was a great experience for me and I’m very happy I went back.”

The Blacktown City Demons junior believes for Australian players in India it is all about adapting quickly to the culture and new environment.

“The faster you adapt to the new football, the lifestyle and everything like that the better it is for you,” Rooney said.

“If you got there with a negative mind thinking oh, I don’t want to be here, then you’ll hate it. But if you go there with an open mind and you take in everything, you really enjoy yourself.

“If you go in with an open mind it totally changes the way you play, it changes everything. Just to adapt well to the place, you find that there’s a lot to see in India and it’s a good country.”