Rooney: I turned up for season overweight
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has revealed he reported for pre-season training with his club seven pounds overweight.
Rooney's weight was the source of criticism in some quarters of the media at the start of the season, with pundits questioning whether or not he had been serious about his fitness in the aftermath of England's Euro 2012 exit.
And Rooney, 26, who is currently sidelined with a severe gash to his thigh, has now admitted that he was not in the best shape when he returned for the new season - blaming a few beers enjoyed while on holiday for his weight.
"I'm like most blokes, I put on a few pounds after a holiday," Rooney said, in his new book My Decade in the Premier League, excerpts of which were published in the Daily Mirror. "Even if I don't train for a week, I put on two or three, but when I get back to Carrington [Manchester United's training ground] for the first day of work, I'm in for a shock.
"The scales in the club gym tell me I've put on a few more pounds than expected - seven. Seven! Then I remember - I drank a few bevvies while I was away. I'm stocky. I'm not like Ryan Giggs, all bone and lean muscle."
Rooney started United's opening game of the season against his former club Everton, but was subsequently dropped to the bench for the following home fixture against Fulham. And the England international admits that he cannot afford to let himself get out of shape with Robin van Persie added to the squad and Sir Alex Ferguson watching over him.
"Coming back for pre-season after a few bevvies and a few weeks away from a ball is physically tough," he added. "As a striker I need to work hard all the time. I need to be sharp, which means my fitness has to be right to play well. If it isn't, it shows.
"It would probably be different if I were a full-back. I could hide a bit, make fewer runs into the opposition half and get away with it. But as a centre-forward for Manchester United, there's no place to hide."
Ferguson recently acknowledged that Rooney needs to carefully monitor his weight, but defended the player's attitude towards his conditioning.
"Wayne is no Ryan Giggs," Ferguson said. "Ryan has never put a pound on in his whole life. Wayne is a boy that needs games, you can see that from the frame he's got. He is stocky, strong and really needs games, simple as that."