Wayne Rooney admits he is ‘still in shock’ about the passing of Sir Bobby Charlton as he pays emotional tribute to former Manchester United, joining Michael Carrick in hailing him ‘an icon’
- Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick paid a moving tribute to Sir Bobby Charlton
- Sir Bobby Charlton passed away at the age of 86, leaving a significant legacy
- LIVE BLOG: Keep up-to-date with all the reaction to Charlton’s passing
Wayne Rooney paid a moving tribute to Sir Bobby Charlton after learning the Manchester United and England great had passed away during his return to management on Saturday.
New Birmingham boss Rooney was leading his side at Middlesbrough, who are managed by his former United team-mate Michael Carrick, and both were clearly still shaken by the news when they discussed it soon after Middlesbrough’s 1-0 win. Charlton’s family said he ‘passed peacefully in the early hours of Saturday morning.’ He was 86.
‘I’m still in shock,’ said a visibly emotional Rooney, who broke Sir Bobby’s goalscoring records for both United and England.
‘I saw his image on the big screen at the start of the second half and didn’t know what was happening. He was a legend but more importantly a great human being.
‘He was always great with me during our many conversations about football and different things in life. He was a huge inspiration to me and a lot of players at United. It is a loss to football and his family.
Wayne Rooney of Manchester United is presented with a golden boot by Sir Bobby Charlton to mark his 250th Manchester United goal which saw him break Charlton’s club record
Rio Ferdinand was amongst fellow Manchester United stars to pay tribute to the late legend
Michael Carrick recalled Charlton’s visit to the United training ground in February 2008, around the time of the 50th anniversary of the Munich tragedy
David Beckham offered his condolences to the former United director who scouted him
Manchester United footballer Bobby Charlton rests in a hospital bed on February 08, 1958 in Munich after being injured in a plane crash following takeoff from Munich airport
‘I have huge respect for what he went through. He experienced the Munich air disaster in 1958. Then he won the World Cup in 1966 and the European Cup in 1968.
‘When I broke his United goalscoring record at Stoke in January 2017, he was there in the dressing room after the game. He congratulated me and then said a few harsher words – but joking of course. He will be hugely missed.’
Carrick, meanwhile, recalled Charlton’s visit to the United training ground in February 2008, around the time of the 50th anniversary of the Munich tragedy.
Charlton survived the crash, in which 23 people died, and said many years later that there wasn’t ‘a day that goes by I don’t remember what happened and the people who are gone.’
‘The one that stands out for me was the 50th anniversary of Munich, when he came into the training ground and spoke to us about the tragedy and what it meant to him,’ recalled Carrick, who won 18 trophies during a 12-year spell at Old Trafford. ‘Those are 45 minutes I will never forget.
‘It’s a bitterly sad day. I found out walking down the tunnel as I was leaving the changing room for the second half and I was devastated to hear the news.
‘Then standing on the touchline in that atmosphere, with the applause going round and Sir Bobby’s picture on the screen, looking across and seeing Wayne next to me… the game for those few moments was irrelevant.
‘My mind flicked back to the moments I had shared with Sir Bobby. He was such an iconic figure in world football, not just English football, and in the Manchester United family.
Charlton held the appearance and goalscoring records at United until Wayne Rooney beat him
Wayne Rooney paid a moving tribute to Sir Bobby Charlton after learning the Manchester United and England great had passed away during his return to management on Saturday
‘He cared so much about the players and the club. He showed nothing but pure support for us.
‘He would come in the changing rooms after every game, home and away, with his blazer and tie and proud to be part of Manchester United and pass on what it meant. I never took one of those conversations for granted.
‘I have the utmost respect for what he did as a player, what he did for the club and the country, but more so as a person and for the support he used to give us. There were always words of encouragement, giving us belief.’
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