Moyes wanted Rooney for Scotland

Manchester United manager David Moyes has admitted he once tried to talk Wayne Rooney into playing for Scotland.

Wayne Rooney, David Moyes, Man United

Berti Vogts revealed last week he travelled to Everton to speak with the then 16-year-old Rooney in an effort to persuade him his international future lay north of the border.

At the time, both Moyes and Vogts were of the mistaken belief one of Rooney's grandparents hailed from Scotland.

That has proved not to be the case.

An attempt was made, though, even if Moyes always knew what the answer would be.

"I remember it," said Moyes on Friday.

"In my mind there was a definite possibility.

"I was desperate to get him to play for Scotland.

"Unfortunately Berti and myself couldn't convince him and as it turned out, his roots and where he came from made him very much English. I don't think it was ever in doubt he would play for England."

Rooney has now done so on 86 occasions, and is now just 11 goals away from equalling Sir Bobby Charlton's all-time goals record of 49.

Indeed, Rooney, who will be 28 later this month, will no doubt eclipse Charlton's Manchester United record of 249 if he signs an extension to his current contract, which is due to expire in 2015.

He has been in supreme form this season, netting seven times in his last eight games for club and country despite suffering a succession of injuries, including a badly gashed head.

Speaking ahead of England's victory over Montenegro last week, Rooney claimed much of the credit went to Moyes for having enough faith in him to restore him to a striking role Sir Alex Ferguson had been increasingly reluctant to do.

"There was no doubt," said Moyes.

"I said near enough from day one Wayne would play up front or behind the front man at times.

"That is where I see Wayne Rooney playing. I didn't see him doing any other job.

"Can he do other jobs? Of course he can. Will he have to? Of course he will.

"But what is he? He is a centre-forward. He is a number 10. He can play either of those two roles equally as well."

In fairness to Moyes, he did say at the start of pre-season training Rooney was looking razor sharp.

And, contrary to Ferguson's view the forward needed two games to get fit if he missed one, pre-season hamstring and shoulder concerns, followed by that gashed head, and then a kick on the shin that prevented him featuring in the

Champions League tie with Shakhtar Donetsk, Rooney has bounced back from each absence without a problem.

"I have been saying since day one, his training has been great," said Moyes.

"He is in great shape and good form.

"I had to keep telling everyone that was the case because the media thought it was different.

"Wayne knows his own standards are high. This is just Wayne getting back to the level everyone knows he can be at."

Moyes could do with another significant Rooney contribution tomorrow as United look to claim back-to-back wins for the first time under the Scot when they entertain Southampton.

It is the kind of game Moyes used to relish when he was at Everton.

Now he is getting used to being the man rival bosses are trying to hunt down, and has suffered once already when West Brom recorded a deserved Old Trafford triumph.

"I understand it totally," said Moyes.

"People come to Old Trafford, in the main, as underdogs. I have done that myself with Everton.

"Against West Brom there was probably a 30-minute period when we had good control but we didn't take our chances.

"You have to do that when you are on top because every team in the Premier League is going to cause you problems."



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