Wayne Rooney believes lifting the FA Cup could prove to be “the start of something special” for Manchester United.
Louis van Gaal’s side secured a dramatic 2-1 win over Everton at Wembley on Saturday to reach their first final since 2007, thanks to an injury-time strike from Anthony Martial.
Rooney has twice suffered defeat in the FA Cup final in the past, with United losing to Chelsea in 2007 and Arsenal two years earlier, making it the one domestic trophy the England captain has yet to get his hands on.
And the 30-year-old hopes that bringing an end to his long wait to lift the famous trophy could spark a successful run for United, who have won nothing but the Community Shield since Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.
“I’ve played in two FA Cup finals and both have ended up in defeat,” he said, as quoted by the club’s official website. “It’s a cup I haven’t been lucky enough to win yet, so it’s a good chance for us.
“Whoever we play in the final, I’m sure it’ll be a tough game for us. I think the fans deserve it – they’ve got to come to Wembley for a cup final, and we have to give them a good performance.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for us. There are a lot of young and new players in the dressing room for us so it could be a big day for us in the final and the start of something special for us, I hope.”
Rooney was once more deployed in a deeper role by Van Gaal, with teenager Marcus Rashford preferred in the lone strike position, and the United captain feels he was able to bring a calming influence to the second half after Everton snatched an equaliser through Chris Smalling’s own goal.
“I think you’re obviously more involved in the game, you have a bigger influence from that position,” he said. “I’ve tried to play what I’ve seen and I think it worked, with me and Michael [Carrick] having a bit more experience in there. We helped calm the game down when we needed to, especially after the equaliser, so I enjoyed it.
“I think the amount of games I’ve played – I know I’m still 30 – I try to help them and try and enjoy my football, which I’m doing.”
Watford and Crystal Palace contest the second semi-final on Sunday.