Wayne Rooney: As former Premier League star rolls sushi in Dubai, his ideas flip to Alex Ferguson



CNN
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Wayne Rooney holds down the bamboo mat with one sinewy hand whereas the opposite is busy mixing rice into slices of salmon and avocado.

Rigorously, the previous Premier League footballer, carrying a shiny orange apron, moisturizes the mix with vinegar and water, earlier than wrapping it in one of many toasted seaweed sheets referred to as nori.

After wetting his knife, Rooney slowly cuts the pillar of sushi into bite-sized chunks, standing again to examine his handiwork.

“I doubt anyone’s going to want to eat this,” he smiles bashfully, turning crimson as he realizes he’s not fairly nearly as good along with his palms as along with his toes.

Rolling sushi with CNN in a Dubai restaurant, 230 meters above the long-lasting man-made island referred to as Palm Jumeirah, is a far cry from the district of Croxteth in Liverpool, the place Rooney was born.

Rooney is warmly welcomed by resident sushi chef, Moon Kyung Soo, who can not comprise his pleasure at assembly a former teammate of 1 his nation’s idols, South Korean Park Ji-Sung. The pair hit it off, and chef Moon proudly names the completed concoction “The Rooney Roll.”

The Japanese dish isn’t a typical menu merchandise on the Rooney family, admits the previous Manchester United participant, who says his pallet is extra accustomed to spaghetti bolognese or stir-fry.

The 37-year-old’s weight loss plan is emblematic of his character – regardless of enjoying top-level soccer for almost 20 years, he’s not flashy or immodest, and is sort of embarrassed to be on digicam.

Carrying a black baseball cap, unironed chinos and an unassuming polo shirt, it’s telling that slightly than his mercurial dribbling capability, boxer-like energy or lightning-quick tempo, Rooney believes his work ethic was as an alternative his largest power on the pitch.

“That’s an ability … the biggest skill you can have. Every day, that’s probably what I’m most proud of,” Rooney tells CNN’s Becky Anderson, whereas overlooking a spotlight of town’s skyline, the world’s highest remark wheel, Ain Dubai.

England’s record-goal scorer is on the town forward of the Globe Soccer Awards, a world ceremony which celebrates one of the best the game has to supply.

The nominees for finest males’s participant embody current Ballon D’Or winner Karim Benzema and the Frenchman’s Actual Madrid teammate, Thibaut Courtois. Within the girls’s class, FC Barcelona star Alexia Putellas and England defender Lucy Bronze are up for rivalry.

CNN has partnered with the awards, now in its thirteenth version, to launch the CNN Off the Pitch class at this yr’s ceremony on November 17. The award will acknowledge the achievements of a person, membership or different soccer group for his or her affect on wider society and tradition in addition to charitable work.

Rooney himself is nominated for an award celebrating his enjoying profession – and his two-decade lengthy rollercoaster journey on the high of the game was undoubtedly one thing particular.

“The outstanding moment … is with my team when you win a trophy and you lift that and the celebrations you have initially after that game. That’s what you work so hard for … That’s why you play,” Rooney reminisces.

“Actually, the best one was the first Premier League trophy we won,” he reveals, referring to Manchester United’s title success within the 2006/2007 season.

“I was actually sat at home… and if Chelsea didn’t win, we won the league. I had my clothes ironed ready to go out, but I didn’t want to jinx anything. Anyway, Chelsea didn’t win so I just remember the phone going off and we had a great night.”

The mercurial expertise made his Premier League debut for his residence membership Everton in 2002 on the age of 16. His debut aim – a shocking strike that rocketed previous then Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman – has gone down in Premier League folklore

Earmarked because the excellent expertise of his era, Rooney went on to turn into the primary man to attain 50 objectives for the England nationwide staff, additionally overtaking Bobby Charlton’s long-held file as Manchester United’s top-scorer. Alongside the best way, he gained 5 league titles and performed in three Champions League finals.

You may suppose that after such a grueling profession, {that a} much-needed break was on the playing cards for Rooney. However on the age of 37, he has as an alternative turned his consideration to teaching.

He relocated to Washington in July, to handle D.C. United, a staff he spent a while enjoying with. It gained’t be a simple activity contemplating the franchise completed backside of the MLS Japanese Convention, however that doesn’t appear to trouble Rooney.

D.C. United head coach Wayne Rooney before an MLS match in August.

“I love it. Trying to develop players, young players, but also having that relationship with the more senior players, and trying to develop them.”

“The appealing thing, obviously going back to D.C. and going in as head coach for me was if you look at all the big teams and the culture, it’s so diverse with different nationalities, different religions.”

Whereas Rooney is joyful stateside for now, it’s clear his long-term ambitions lie nearer to residence.

“Obviously Everton and Manchester United are the two clubs who are really close to my heart so to manage one of them two would be a dream,” he admits, the latter at present coached by his former England teammate, Frank Lampard.

“I’m nonetheless gaining quite a lot of expertise from what I’m doing. You wish to study, and I wish to go into Everton or Manchester United, I wish to go in there and be capable of give one of the best model of me.

“I’d be naive to say, ‘I’m going to go and manage Manchester United in the next year or so.’ For me it’s about putting the work in and developing myself and if I do that and I do it in the right way, then I feel these jobs, these opportunities will come to me eventually.”

Rooney’s tenure at DC United comes after a tumultuous reign at English aspect Derby County.

The membership went into administration after money owed spiraled and it didn’t play gamers their wages. Deducted factors for monetary mismanagement, Derby was ultimately relegated, however Rooney was praised for his efforts to maintain them within the Championship, English soccer’s second tier.

Wayne Rooney gives his team instructions during a Derby County game.

“I’m pleased with what we achieved there … we have been relegated however with out the deductions we’d’ve stayed within the division.

“There was so many difficulties in what we were facing and obstacles for us to try and get over,” Rooney laments.

“I give them [sic] players so much praise because I think it was 21 debuts from the academy … There are players who maybe didn’t even have a career in football who now have [one].”

If he’s on the lookout for recommendation, Rooney has no scarcity of mentors to attract from.

David Moyes, now West Ham supervisor, handed him his debut as a 16-year-old in 2002, La Liga winner Fabio Capello coached him for a spell at England, and Rooney completed his United profession underneath two-time Champions League champion José Mourinho.

However he says his largest affect was the Manchester membership’s most profitable coach, Alex Ferguson, who signed him for the membership for a then-record sum for a youngster of almost $50 million.

“He was nice to play for, he’s the explanation I signed for Manchester United to play for him. The very best recommendation I obtained … was from Alex Ferguson, [and it] was [that] the toughest factor to do in life is to work exhausting day-after-day. And that’s one of the best. That’s at all times caught with me.

Then Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson congratulates Wayne Rooney after his final Premier League title win in 2013.

“From a football point of view, coaching point of view, of course you’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to get things wrong, but there’s no excuse really to not work.”

Manchester United has seen scant success since Ferguson retired in 2013. The 20-time English league winner has seen derby rivals Manchester Metropolis outpace them on and off the sphere for the reason that takeover of the membership by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008.

Erik ten Hag took over the teaching reins in the summertime and the Dutchman has notched a couple of spectacular wins which have lifted the temper round Outdated Trafford. Whereas Rooney was in Dubai, objectives from Fred and Bruno Fernandes gave the Manchester membership a dominant victory over Tottenham Hotspur.

“It’s the best I’ve seen Manchester United for a long time,” says Rooney. “I think you can see what he’s trying to do. High energy, high press with the team and it was very difficult for Tottenham to play against.”

The one black mark on that efficiency was star participant Cristiano Ronaldo strolling down the tunnel with a number of minutes left to play as a result of he didn’t get on the pitch. Ten Haag later suspended the participant, however Ronaldo’s clear need to play, is a constructive signal for a coach, based on Rooney.

“Football’s emotional and you want players who want to be on the pitch. I don’t mind a player coming off and not being happy. I’ve done it myself,” says Rooney, who performed with Ronaldo throughout his most profitable interval at United.

If Rooney has any regrets from his enjoying profession, it’s his efficiency for England at worldwide tournaments.

On the age of 18, Rooney grew to become the youngest scorer in European Championship historical past – a file that solely stood for 4 days after the Englishman’s landmark was taken by Switzerland’s Johan Vonlanthen at Euro 2004.

Rooney celebrates scoring a goal at Wembley in 2015, breaking the record for most international goals for England.

When he set the file, Rooney grabbed two objectives in England’s second group sport, a 3-0 defeat of Switzerland. He then broke a bone in his foot within the quarterfinal defeat by Portugal when England misplaced on penalties.

Two years later Rooney was infamously despatched off at towards Portugal on the 2006 World Cup for lashing out at then membership teammate Ronaldo.

Regardless of enjoying as a part of a staff containing English icons corresponding to Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, referred to as the “Golden Generation,” Rooney by no means gained a trophy with the nationwide aspect.

“We were unlucky a few times,” Rooney laments. “Obviously in the Euros, 2004, 2006 World Cup, getting knocked out on penalties, both at the quarterfinal stage. And, again, that’s that little bit of luck you need, if you go through there, you potentially go on to win the competition.”