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  • Date :
  • 9/6/2004
Rooney: Title May Be Beyond Us

Manchester United new boy Wayne Rooney has admitted he might not end his first season at old Trafford with a championship medal.

The 18-year-old, who completed his £27million move to United on Tuesday, is relishing the prospect of contesting the major honours with his new club as they renew their Barclays Premiership battle with Arsenal andChelsea.

However, he has hinted that, after a start to the season which sees Sir Alex Ferguson’s side ninth in the table and seven points adrift of the top two already, the title might be beyond them.

“We’ve got some good young players at the club and providing we can all grow together in the team, I think we’ll eventually come good again,” he told the club’s official website, www.manutd.com.

“It’s a big challenge for us and we might not win the league this season; it might take two or three years. But I really think we’re capable of matching both Arsenal and Chelsea.”

Rooney’s move to United will eventually see him link up with Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, and with Rio Ferdinand nearing the end of his ban, Ferguson has big players waiting on the sidelines to re-ignite his side’s challenge at home and in Europe.

That is a prospect which excites the new arrival, who returned from his exploits with England at Euro 2004 with a broken bone in his foot, but also a blossoming reputation on the world stage and a hunger for more of the big time.

“That was the thing that really made my mind up about leaving Everton, to be honest,” he said.

“Going out to Portugal was a big experience for me and after doing as well as did out there, I felt that I had moved my game on and I wanted to be playing in the Champions League.

“I think it will be a different type of challenge and a difficult one too because you’ll be up against the top players in Europe.

“But that’s what every player relishes; they want to challenge themselves and play against the best players, and hopefully we can go out there and win it.”

Rooney’s explosion into senior football at Everton and subsequent promotion to the international ranks has seen him catapulted into the limelight, and he has had to do his growing up under intense scrutiny both on and off the field.

He believes he has matured both as a player and as a person over the last year or so, but knows he still has a lot to learn, and is confidentFerguson will help him do that.

“I think I’ve changed a lot as a person on the field and off the field,” he said. “I’m much more mature than I was 12 to 18 months ago, but that all comes with playing the game.

“Hopefully I can keep my head down, do my job well and go out and do my best for Manchester United.

“He (Ferguson) has worked with a lot of young players over the years and he’s always got the best out of those players.

“Hopefully he can get a lot more and the best out of me over the next few years.”

The prospect of linking up with the likes of van Nistelrooy, Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes is one which naturally excites Rooney, and he is confident he can learn from them too.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “There’s a really good squad of players here who are all top players. I hope I can gel as quickly as possible and become one of those players as well.

“They’ve all got great experience of playing at the top level and playing in the Champions League, so I think I’ll be able to learn a lot from them, and if I need any advice, hopefully I’ll be able to go and speak to them.”

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