Wayne Rooney has confessed he could not have been more wrong to question the quality of Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad with Manchester United now on course for a European and domestic Double.
The Barclays Premier League leaders have one foot in the Champions League final at Wembley after a resounding 2-0 win over Schalke in Germany.
But only six months ago Rooney almost quit Old Trafford. He refused to sign a new contract and claimed the club were no longer good enough to satisfy his ambitions.
The England striker, who capped a magnificent performance with United’s second goal on Tuesday night in Gelsenkirchen, said: ‘When I look at it now, how wrong was I!
‘Obviously I made a mistake. I admitted that and apologised, and I’ve wanted to prove myself again to the United fans. I feel I’m doing that now. I’m 100 per cent committed to this club.
‘It’s been a lot different in the second half of the season. I’m a lot happier in my life and happier with the way I’m playing. It’s been like settling down again.
‘I’m very grateful to the fans for supporting me through it and I’m delighted with my form. Now it would be a great end to the season with a Champions League final and to win the Premier League.’
Rooney plunged United into crisis when he put out a statement – two hours before an unconvincing 1-0 group win over Turkish side Bursaspor in October – questioning if the club could still attract the world’s top stars.
At the time, team-mate Patrice Evra called for Rooney to be axed, saying: ‘If one player does not trust the others, he should not play.’ The France defender believes United’s resurgence has silenced those who suggested the club were in decline.
Evra said: ‘Before the Champions League game against the Turkish side, everyone was criticising United, saying it was the end of the empire. I said, “You have to pay the musician at the end of the show”, and I still think the same.
‘Yes, it was big trouble, but in the end we stayed united. It’s not only about one player. I always say Manchester without Evra, Rooney or a big player will always be the same team because the star is the team, not just one player.
‘Sometimes in your life you have problems but Wayne is a professional and now you see he just gives back. Maybe it’s a sorry to the fans for what he said. That’s at an end now – it’s over.
‘I always believed in this side. At the beginning of the season I told all my friends, “I play this year to win the league again and reach the Champions League final”.
‘When we were in that bad position we still believed we could win the league. How many goals do we score in the last minute? That’s the right spirit. We always believe.’