Wayne Rooney has detailed the piece of advice from former manager Sir Alex Ferguson that made goalscoring easier.
Rooney is England and Manchester United’s record scorer, despite his admissions that he wasn’t a natural finisher.
“The best advice I received was from Fergie,” he said. “He’d say ‘you’re working too hard’ and at first I thought, ‘What do you mean, isn’t that what you want?’
“But I used to try to run as hard as I could for 90 minutes and in the last 10 minutes [I’d] be tired.
“The manager wanted his strikers to keep a little bit in the tank, because that match-winning chance might not arrive until the 90th minute.”
Rooney went on to explain that the way he went about training changed after he’d had that conversation with Ferguson.
“I used to practise finishing when I was tired,” he added. “At the end of a training session, I’d get a keeper and Eric Steele, the goalkeeping coach, and do five sets of six: a little sprint then a shot.
“By the fifth and sixth [repetition] of each set, you were out of breath – and if you learn to finish when you’re tired, it’s so much easier when you get a chance and you’re normal.”
The Derby captain also admitted he still feels ‘there have been better number nines’ than him, naming Gary Lineker, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Harry Kane as some that he holds in higher regard, and that if he were building a football team he would do so around the latter.