Rooney: I'd rather be lone striker than out wide

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has revealed that he would rather play on his own up front for the Premier League champions than operate from a wide position.

The 24-year-old has netted 16 goals in all competitions for the Red Devils in 2009/10, with the England international having been frequently deployed alongside either Dimitar Berbatov or Michael Owen in attack by Sir Alex Ferguson.

However, the former Everton forward - who has made more than 200 appearances for United since joining in 2004 - has not solely been used as a front-man.

During former FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo's successful six-year spell with Manchester United, Rooney was often seen marauding up and down the left flank before drifting inside to support forays forward.

Speaking in the February issue of FourFourTwo - in shops now - Rooney reveals how his role at Old Trafford has changed.

"Over the last two or three seasons I had to play a lot out wide and Ronaldo played through the middle, so that's changed," he says.

"When Ronaldo was out wide, you knew he would come inside and shoot, do a few tricks."

Following the departures of both Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez to Real Madrid and Manchester City respectively, Rooney has returned to his more familiar centre-forward position, operating alongside a strike partner while occasionally being left to fend for himself.

And the two-time PFA Young Player of the Year admits that he would still rather play as a lone striker than have to drift inside from the wing.

"You have to run the channels [playing alone up front], hold the ball up, bring team-mates into play," he says.

"When the ball goes wide you get into the box, in a good position. The most important thing is holding the ball up, though, because if you can't do that, it brings pressure on the team.

"You have to accept you're not going to get as much of the ball as you would as the man playing off; you won't get as many chances but it's my second favourite position after playing off another striker. Out wide would be third choice."

The full, feature-length interview with Rooney can be read in the February issue of FourFourTwo - in shops now.

Dedicated to strikers, the magazine includes interviews with Fernando Torres, Dwight Yorke, Andrew Cole, Gabriel Batistuta, Alberto Gilardino, Gary Lineker, Grafite, Hulk, Bobby Zamora, Billy Paynter and Malcolm Macdonald, as well as revealing the 50 best strikers since the war.

Follow on Twitter
Join on Facebook