Last updated : 13 December 2006 By Editor
From the Sun:

Wayne Rooney reckons January 21 is crunch time in the battle for the Premiership crown. That is when Manchester United travel to Arsenal — the day after title rivals Chelsea visit Liverpool.

“Our game is a big one. I never want Liverpool to win but if it's going to help us to win the league then I won't mind — for once.

“If they can do us a favour and beat Chelsea then that would be good. We'll then be looking to get a first win at Arsenal's new ground.

“We know it's a long campaign and the challenge will be difficult. However, we're confident and hopefully this season is the one to bring back the title.

“I think there are a lot more goals in me. If I can score, get a few more assists and keep producing big performances then, hopefully, that will help us win the Premiership.”

Meanwhile, whilst on a trip to New York this week, Rooney almost got injured while watching a basketball match:

He and fiancee Coleen McLoughlin took advantage of a three-day break to travel to New York to watch the Knicks lose at home to Boston Celtics.

They had courtside seats at Madison Square Garden. And in the early stages of the game Knicks star Paul Pierce — who is 6ft 8in and 17st — reached for a loose ball, fell on to the striker and landed on Rooney's right foot.

It is the same foot he broke ahead of the World Cup but, thankfully, this time no damage was done. Rooney said: “It was very scary. He rolled right over my foot.”

Elsewhere he asks refs for more protection:

“For some reason, referees think I should be able to protect myself without their help. I've had some bad tackles on me, but I'll get up where other players will roll around, so the refs think there is nothing wrong with me.

“I just want to play football and sometimes I get angry at this and sometimes I don't - I just try to hold myself back and think for a minute, then react after that. But I think I'm getting better and I'm learning how to take a deep breath. I try not to get involved because I know that if I do get frustrated, it can affect my performance.

“He's [Ferguson] instilled a winning mentality in me. He's made me aware how much this club wants to win. I always wanted to win anyway, but he's probably taken it that step further.

“And I want to win the lot - every tournament, every cup, every game. Every game I go into, I think I'm going to win and score.

“Ask anyone. Everything I play, whether it's the computer, snooker, whatever. I'm always 100 per cent confident that I'll win it, even if I've never played it before.

“People might say that sounds big-headed and you don't always win of course, but I think I'm positive and I take that into everything I do.

“If you've got something, there's no point wasting it and throwing it away. You should try and build on it and be better. I can do that here.”