'Oh God, Manchester City are champions' - Rooney reflects on agony of United losing title

The England striker has recalled the pain of losing the championship on the final day of the 2011-12 campaign, and reveals that he could play in midfield later in his career
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has recounted the pain of losing the Premier League title to rivals Manchester City on the final day of the 2011-12 season.

Roberto Mancini's team scored two injury-time goals against QPR at the Etihad Stadium to dramatically claim the top flight crown on goal difference.

The striker has joined Fulham but refused to say goodbye to the United manager
Rooney and his team-mates had already beaten Sunderland and thought they had retained the title when they learned of City's comeback by the reaction of the crowd at the Stadium of Light.

"Our fans are losing it, the players can sense the league is coming back to Old Trafford," reads an extract of Rooney's new book, 'My Decade in the Premier League', published in the Daily Mirror. "I can't make out what's going on, nobody can. Is it over? Have City blown it?

"When the final whistle goes there's complete confusion. I'm looking to the bench, trying to work out whether we're champions. Everyone's staring at one another, shrugging their shoulders.

"Then the Sunderland fans start cheering. They're turning their backs to the ground and bouncing up and down. That's 'The Poznan' – the celebration that City do whenever they score.

"Oh God, City are champions. The manager is walking towards us. He's telling us to thank the fans. My heart sinks. I can see it's done, finished.

"Someone shouts, 'City scored two in injury time' and I feel sick. Our fans look heartbroken. Then I look towards the Sunderland supporters and they're made up, laughing.

"What, because we've lost out on the title at the last minute? Why are they so bothered about us?

"I think about playing Sunderland next season, beating them, because focusing on anything other than City, however small, goes some way to making me feel better. That night, I live through the pain again – Match of the Day on the telly.

"City get their title. I turn the TV off. Silence. Gary Neville was right. There's nothing worse than having the same points as the champions, but being second best."

Rooney also discusses the possibility of moving to a midfield position on a longer-term basis having filled in for injured players in the centre of the park last season.
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"The manager thinks I can do a job there and, with the likes of Tom Cleverley, Anderson, Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher all missing games, he asked me to help out," he explained.

"When I get stuck into the action as a central playmaker, I love it. I get more of the ball, I'm involved loads and, after one game, I even think about playing there permanently, but only later in my career.

"Why? Well, in midfield I don't have to be as sharp as a forward. Once I feel that I haven't got the sharpness needed to get away from defenders, I'll probably drop back into midfield for a couple of seasons so I can still ­influence the game.

"In my heart I'd prefer it if I was playing up front, because I can still do a lot of damage, but the sacrifices don't bother me."