Rooney says sorry to United fans
And the Red Devils forward has also claimed there was never the remotest possibility he would have left for Manchester City. Although Sir Alex Ferguson claimed Rooney had said sorry to his team-mates and intended to do the same to the fans when he ended a turbulent week by signing a five-year deal last month, three opportunities to make good that promise have not been taken. On Wednesday night, following his match-winning penalty at Rangers, Rooney offered his apology, before revealing the intense speculation about a move to City was well wide of the mark. "I feel like I have apologised to the fans but everyone keeps saying that I haven't," said Rooney. "If that's the case, then I apologise for my side of things. "I have made my point clear since I signed my contract that I am committed to this club for the long term. I want to be successful here. "Everyone is saying that I was definitely going to Manchester City. Believe me if I had gone it wouldn't have been in England." For two or three days, it appeared certain a move would have to be arranged as the ill-feeling towards Rooney grew. Even since the dispute was resolved, Ferguson has been critical of Rooney's trusted advisor Paul Stretford. Yet the 25-year-old now acknowledges that leaving Old Trafford could have been the biggest mistake of his career. "Of course," he said. "You see so many players leave this club and not do so well so I am delighted to have stayed." The process seemed amazingly simple. Unhappy about the future direction United were heading under the Glazer ownership, Rooney wanted assurances standards would not be allowed to fall. It is only strange the process should have got so far before they were given. "I spoke with the manager and (chief executive) David Gill. They reassured me the club was moving forward and from that it took maybe two or three hours to negotiate my contract and sign it," revealed the England forward. "It wasn't a distraction to my football because I haven't played that much but it was a distraction overall. I am just happy it is all over now. I want to put it behind me and look forward." It has been suggested the contract issue was one of the reasons for Rooney's alarming dip in form since he sustained the first of a succession of ankle injuries against Bayern Munich in March. The sentiment is one Rooney refutes. "Mentally I have been okay," he said. "Because the football has not been going well and other things have happened, everyone has put it down to not being mentally strong enough. But I am. "Obviously the most important thing for me at the minute is to play and score goals." To that end, being sent away to America for a week's conditioning work has helped. Rather than take five or six games to get back into his stride, Rooney is hoping the process can be completed in a couple. At the time, it seemed like a strange move. Not that the former Everton star was questioning it. "I wasn't going to argue with the manager," he laughed. "I needed to get the training in and if that is what they wanted me to do I was happy to do it. "Going to the States has helped a lot. Normally when I have been injured it has taken me four or five games to feel I was back to full fitness and I would feel it in the last 20 minutes of matches. "Against Rangers I felt good in the last 20 minutes." There is still a feeling that he needs a goal from open play to really get the confidence surge he requires after so long in the doldrums. Not that Rooney views his form as being the disaster some have depicted. "People are saying how bad I have been playing but I haven't played enough games for my form to be a disaster," he said. "With everything that has happened, the reaction all goes a bit overboard. "But I have been through patches before when I haven't played well and come through them. I know 100% I will come through this one."