Manchcester United legend Wayne Rooney was loved by his United and England team-mates, according to Gary Neville. Neville has revealed how United players forgave Rooney for wanting to leave the club because he was such a popular character.
Despite stating he wanted to leave the Red Devils on two occasions, Rooney ended up staying and becoming the club’s all-time leading goalscorer.
Actions such as that may lead to some players becoming less popular in dressing rooms but not when it came to Rooney, as Neville explained.
“He’s an honest lad but he was also driven, he had that stubbornness about him,” Neville said on Sky Sports’ Off Script podcast.
“He was getting close to the line that I’d seen players get to before and obviously they didn’t survive that line.
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“I think that when Wayne did that I thought that was the end for him, I thought that would be it, that the manager would sort of manage him out of the club over the next few months.
“And then obviously there was a new contract announced and we were all delighted from a point of playing because he was popular.
“What I would say is Wayne was so popular in the dressing room it was untrue.
“The players absolutely loved him. The England players loved him, when I was a coach, when I was a player.
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“The Manchester United players loved him, there was no one who didn’t like Wayne Rooney.
“So I think they forgave him for what would be his reasons for doing it because they liked him so much and he built up so much credit with us.
“And I think you’ve got to understand, one of the things we had in the dressing room over a 20-year period was tolerance.
“Tolerance of each other, we were all different, we were all from different countries, we were all from different parts of the world, we were all different ages.
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“We all had different characters.”
Neville also revealed how Rooney’s arrival was the signing that excited him the most when he was a United player.
“Wayne Rooney, Wayne Rooney’s probably No 1,” Neville said.
“I played with him with England and I knew what we were getting.
“We were getting a world-class player and fearless and horrible and everything that you’d want in a football player.
“Goals, tackling, running, endeavour, grit, everything that you’d want in a football player.
“So he was the one that excited me.”
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