Manchester United’s all-time leading goalscorer Wayne Rooney says learning to handle criticism has been the key to finding longevity in a record-breaking career.
Rooney’s sensational free-kick at Stoke City on Saturday was his 250th goal for the Red Devils in all competitions, taking top spot for his own after previously pulling level with Bobby Charlton.
The England and United captain has encountered more than a few challenges on his way to earning a place in history, having to get used to being used in different positions by Alex Ferguson, as well as adjusting to life as a substitute under Jose Mourinho.
Those on-field tribulations and a boozy night out while on international duty last year have often put Rooney’s name in the headlines for the wrong reasons, but the 31-year-old accepts scrutiny is inevitable.
“There’s been ups and downs and I think a lot of the criticism is fair – it’s about football and I understand that,” Rooney said after accepting an award on behalf of the Football Writers’ Association to mark his record-breaking strike.
“Everyone has their opinion.
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) January 21, 2017
“And a lot of it [is] unfair, which I’ve had to deal with.
“At times it has been tough but you have to do it. I think I’ve said it before, the quicker you realise as a player it’s part of the game, it’s something you have to deal with.
“As a young player you don’t understand that growing up, but when you’re in the game you have to realise that quick and you have to learn to deal with it, otherwise it can bring you down, it can affect performances.”
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