Football

Wayne happy wherever he plays

Manchester United skipper Wayne Rooney has insisted that the trip to Newcastle tomorrow morning (Singapore time) signals the start of a period that could define their season.

The Red Devils travel to St James' Park hoping to hang on to their place in the top four as they push for a return to the Champions League.

After visiting the North-east, Louis van Gaal's team play Arsenal in the FA Cup quarter-finals, before league matches against Tottenham and Liverpool - two clubs also chasing a top-four berth.

"It's the start of a big three weeks for us," Rooney said. "We have done okay in the big games this year, we could do better, but it is exciting for us with these big games that you want to be involved in.

"We can't look past Wednesday. Newcastle away is always a tough game and we have to try to make sure we come away from there with three points."

Much has been made of how Rooney has been used by van Gaal this season. The Dutch manager has often opted to use the 29-year-old in midfield, instead of his usual position as a centre forward.

Rooney played in attack on Saturday and rewarded his manager's decision with both goals in a comfortable 2-0 victory over Sunderland.

The England striker, however, says he is happy to play in either role.

"Everyone knows I've played midfield for the majority of the season but my record shows that I score goals, so I'm not worried about that at all," said Rooney.

"I was pleased the manager played me up front and am delighted to get the two goals, but the victory was the main thing because, after last week, it was important we bounced back.

"Where I play is down to the manager. It's his decision where he sees me playing and I respect wherever he wants to play me."

SAFETY

Mid-table Newcastle hope to record back-to-back victories after Saturday's 1-0 win over Aston Villa all but secured another season of Premier League football on Tyneside.

Top scorer Papiss Cisse secured the win over Villa with his 11th goal of the season, and the Senegal international is confident Newcastle can improve their unimpressive home record against United.

They've beaten the Old Trafford side just once in the last 11 visits, and Cisse said: "The Villa win was an important victory, and sets us up nicely for Manchester United.

"It's a game we need to be ready for. Every player in the squad is up for this game." - AFP.