Wayne Rooney has revealed the best and worst teammates he played with across his long and illustrious career.
On the topic of teammates, however, the former Manchester United striker gave the nod to Darren Fletcher as his favourite to play alongside, though the Scottish international was run close by a few others in the Old Trafford dressing room.
“My best team-mate, I’d say Darren Fletcher,” Rooney reveals to Burrow. “There were a few – John O’Shea, Wes Brown, Michael Carrick – we were all really close. But Fletch was probably the one. We sat next to each other in the dressing room and shared really good moments on and off the pitch together.”
Burrow then asked for Rooney’s assessment on the opposite end of the spectrum – his least favourite teammate.
Rooney, who is currently the manager of Birmingham City, potentially surprised United fans by picking Nani, the enigmatic Portuguese winger who so often combined with his English teammate to such great effect.
Rooney describes Nani as “frustrating” and his “toughest” player to play alongside. The Portuguese’s tendency to overcomplicate and showboat often ran antithetical to the bullish and direct style of Rooney.
Rooney has also previously recounted the different treatment himself and Nani received from Sir Alex Ferguson.
The former United manager would often mollycoddle Nani as he knew being too harsh or confrontational with the winger would cause his performance level to drop, not improve.
Rooney, by contrast, thrived on being challenged or pushed. The former forward even suggested that Ferguson used to scream at him in order to send a message to other players, such as Nani.
“So many times at half-time I had played well and others in the dressing room hadn’t but he’d come for me. He knew there’d be a shouting match but it’d get a reaction from me. If he did it to another player – for example Nani – he knew he’d lose the player but he just knew the right thing to do. He’d tell me to stop dribbling, aiming it at Nani!
The Birmingham City manager revealed Nani was not alone in frustrating him, however, suggesting there were a “lot more than you’d probably think!” in terms of potential candidates for worst teammate.
Perhaps the effects of Sir Alex’s infamous hairdryer treatment are still fresh in Rooney’s mind, more than a decade on, and it’s these memories which drove his choice of Nani for least favourite teammate.