Wayne Rooney has lifted the lid on his ongoing weight problems in his latest book that is scheduled to be released on September 13. Considering the content that is likely to be in the book, a forward written by Sir Alex Ferguson is rather surprising.
He admitted that he had put on seven pounds after returning from the summer break and it showed in his sluggish performance against Everton. If he wants to fight his way back into the first team when he returns from his freak injury, he needs to make sure he is putting all his effort into regaining his fitness.
Read the extract published on the Daily Mirror here:
Early July: The first day back at pre-season training.
I’m like most blokes, I put on a few pounds after a holiday.
Even if I don’t train for a week, I put on two or three, but when I get back to Carrington for the first day of work, I’m in for a shock.
The scales in the club gym tell me I’ve put on a few more pounds than expected – seven. Seven!
Then I remember – I drank a few bevvies while I was away. I’m stocky. I’m not like Ryan Giggs, all bone and lean muscle.
But I gain weight quite easily. It’s not a problem though. It’s not as if the manager is leaning over my shoulder as the numbers come in, tutting and making jokes about me eating too many chip butties.
Besides, I know I can shift it in a week or two. All the players are given loose training programmes to stick to while they’re away, but they’re optional.
The club like us not to go overboard on the eating and drinking in the close-season break, so if I go abroad I like to get into the hotel gym three times a week to work on the treadmill and do some weight work.
That way I can be sharp when we get back to training and the running will feel easier when the pre-season games start.
But coming back for pre-season after a few bevvies and a few weeks away from a ball is physically tough.
As a striker I need to work hard all the time. I need to be sharp, which means my fitness has to be right to play well. If it isn’t, it shows.
It would probably be different if I were a full-back. I could hide a bit, make fewer runs into the opposition half and get away with it.
But as a centre-forward for Manchester United, there’s no place to hide.
I’ve got to work as hard as I can, otherwise the manager will haul me off the pitch or drop me for the next game.
There’s no room for failure or second best at this club.
When it comes to nutrition, all the players know what to eat and what not to eat all year round, but we allow ourselves some luxuries. During the season, I don’t think there’s any harm having a take-away now and then. The club always has someone on hand to talk to me about diet if I need them.
Physically I’ve taken a bit of a battering over the years; being lumped by Transformer-sized centre-backs or having my muscles smashed by falls, shoulder barges and last-ditch tackles, day in, day out, has left me a bit bruised.
When I get up in the morning after a game, I struggle to walk for the first half an hour. I ache a bit. It wasn’t like that when I was a lad.
I remember sometimes when I finished training or playing with Everton and United, I’d want to play some more. But football has had a massive impact on my body because my game is based on speed, power and intensity.
Like any player I’m fearful of getting a career-ending injury. I could be in the best form of my life and then one day a bad tackle might finish my time in the sport. It’s over then.
But that’s the risk I take as a player in every match. I know football is such a short career that one day, at any age, the game could be snatched from me unexpectedly.
So I want to decide when I leave football, not a physio, or an opponent’s boot.
But the fear of injury or failure has never got into my head when I’ve been playing.
I’ve never frozen on the football pitch. I’ve always wanted to express myself, I’ve always wanted to try things. I’ve never gone into a game worrying.