Rooney relishing Toffees reunion

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney says facing former club Everton in the FA Cup semi-finals on Sunday has added extra spice to the fixture.

“It still means something that it is Everton,” he said.

“It makes it a big day for me, although the most important thing is for United to reach the final.” Rooney left the Merseyside club in 2004, and has never been forgiven by a large section of the Blues' fans.

But the boyhood Evertonian has maintained his Toffees allegiance in many respects, having stirred up controversy last month ahead of the Red Devils' league clash with Liverpool by revealing: “I grew up hating Liverpool, and that hasn’t changed.” The FA Cup semi-final with Everton at Wembley is just one of several crucial games coming up for United as the season reaches its business end, with Sir Alex Ferguson's side still hoping to complete a quintuple of trophies in 2008/09.

And Rooney can’t wait. “To have so many big games coming up is amazing,” he said. “It is why you want to play for United. Every game is massive. When you get close to winning trophies they always are, and we are getting closer.” And with a Champions League semi-final with Arsenal on the horizon, Rooney is predicting some exciting times for the club.

“It is a mouth-watering prospect,” continued the 23-year-old, who is expecting his first child later in the year.

“The only other English team we have played in this competition so far is Chelsea in last year’s final. It should be an exciting couple of games because they like to play good football.”

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