Rooney wins PFA player of year award

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LONDON: Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney won the Professional Footballers’ Association player of the year award at a ceremony here on Sunday and then declared his readiness for the World Cup.Rooney, currently out of action with a groin injury, is widely regarded as being central to England’s chances of winning the World Cup in South Africa later this year.

“I’m good,” the 24-year-old Rooney told guests at the PFA dinner, in association with Barclays Bank, at the Grosvenor House Hotel in central London.

“I’m disappointed to miss a couple of games. Hopefully I will play before the season finishes.”

Asked if he’d be fit in time for South Africa, Rooney replied: “No problems for the World Cup.”

Rooney dismissed suggestions England could not win the World Cup, which starts in June, without him: “We’ve got a lot of great players. If I get injured, so be it.”

He added: “Watching games is very frustrating.”

Rooney, asked what would constitute a successful World Cup for England, said: “Success would be to win the trophy. We prepared well and hopefully we can bring the trophy back home.”

England have won the World Cup just once, in 1966 when they triumphed on home soil.

Reigning champions United trail Chelsea by one point in the English Premier League title race with two games remaining and may need a favour from arch-rivals Liverpool if they are to overtake the London club.

“I’m sure Liverpool will want to beat Chelsea,” Rooney said.

“They are a proud club and they are still aiming to qualify for Europe.”

Asked what had made the difference to a season where he has already scored 34 goals, Rooney replied: “The manager (Sir Alex Ferguson) is playing me in a more central position up front which I’ve been asking him to do for a few years now and the service has got better.

“It’s a great feeling to win the player of the year award because it’s voted for by the players,” said Rooney.

“It’s something I’m really proud of and it’s a great honour.

“I remember coming here in 2005 and 2006 to win the young player of the year.

“I saw the players winning the main one and it’s something I’ve aimed for since.”

Rooney, the first Englishman to win the award since Steven Gerrard in 2006, paid tribute to the influence Ferguson has had on his career. — AFP