Rooney's fighting fit for Reds
Wayne Rooney has revealed he gets the punch bag out if he wants to get rid of some excess anger. The United star is no longer the firebrand he was in his younger days, flying off the handle at every little problem. But the 24-year-old, who aims to down Bayern Munich in the Champions League tonight, retains an ultra-competitive edge that occasionally requires an outlet. When those situations occur, Rooney is happy to pull the boxing gloves on, as he learned to do when he was still at school. "I used to do boxing and football," he told Champions magazine. "I was training every night with one of them and when I got to about 15, Everton said I had to stop boxing if I wanted to carry on playing football. "I had a good chance of making the first team, so I stopped. "I still love watching boxing. It is a big thing in my family. I can still do a bit now after training, but obviously not fighting. "I enjoy it. It is a good way to get rid of some anger." Sir Alex Ferguson hopes there will be no reason for Rooney to get angry in the Allianz Arena as the striker returns from a bruised foot for the quarter-final first-leg tie. Rooney has established himself as one of the most feared forwards in Europe thanks to his 33-goal contribution to United's season. However, Ferguson believes it is the presence of another England man who missed Saturday's four-goal destruction of Bolton that is even more crucial to United's chances of recording a record seventh successive away win in the competition, £29.1m defender Rio Ferdinand. "The return of Ferdinand and Vidic to keep our back four solid is significant," said Ferguson. "Along with Edwin van der Sar there was a time when all those players were injured. It wasn't easy and we were very fragile. "But you can see the solidity now. You can see the experience of these players and it is making a massive difference to the performances of the team. "It is a true saying strong at the back, strong as a team. We are looking very strong now." With Chelsea to follow on Saturday, Ferguson is now aware that Vidic will escape any FA action for his challenge on Johan Elmander at the Reebok Stadium that drew such a stinging rebuke from Trotters chief Owen Coyle, who labelled it a "terrible tackle". The United camp did not see the incident in the same way, and neither did referee Martin Atkinson, who confirmed he had a clear view. "What is the old saying about people in glass houses?" countered Ferguson. "When Nemanja Vidic came off at half-time he had a lump on his head the size of an egg, his jaw was swollen and he had a black eye. "I didn't see them all but I know it was the best central defensive performance in the world this weekend. "It was the best central defensive performance I have seen for years."
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