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ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Nov 24, 2013

Rooney rejects Fergie fitness claims

Wayne Rooney has hit back at Sir Alex Ferguson over claims he was unfit last season -- insisting he has the stats to prove otherwise.

Sir Alex Ferguson and Wayne Rooney enjoyed a fractious relationship towards the end.
Sir Alex criticised Wayne Rooney's fitness in his autobiography.

• Errors found in Sir Alex's book
• Payne: World Cup for United

Ferguson's successor David Moyes and England boss Roy Hodgson have both lauded Rooney's fitness this season, with the forward hitting nine goals for club and country.

However in his new autobiography, released last month, Ferguson said Rooney struggled to maintain his performance levels over 90 minutes and often became tired in matches, claiming: "Rooney has great qualities about him but they could be swallowed up by a lack of fitness."

Last season the England international struggled for form, and was dropped for United's crunch second-leg Champions League last-16 defeat against Real Madrid.

Ferguson also claimed Rooney handed in a transfer request in April. The player himself denies it but the situation led to a standoff with the club over the summer as Rooney sought a move to Chelsea.

But even with the former Everton forward appearing to be settled once again at United, he has now taken another swipe at his old manager.

"My fitness levels are the same as last season -- I've got the stats, so I know," said Rooney, who played 90 minutes for England against Chile last week and 70 against Germany on Tuesday. "Every footballer gets stats from each training session and game -- and I go through them every day. It's the same system with England.

"It's something which you can monitor in terms of how much work you're doing and sometimes you do need a bit of a rest, so that's what we do. And mine are the same stats as last season -- but obviously it's been noticed this season, that's all.

"Towards the end of the season, you'll maybe do less training sessions. It's a common thing that players have an extra day recovery, so you might do that to get the best out of yourself in games."

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