WAYNE Rooney has refused to rule out the prospect of following in Roy Keane’s footsteps and playing for Celtic at the end of his career.
The England captain, who has strong sympathies for the Scottish champions, will lead his country into action at Celtic Park tonight.
Rooney’s affection for Celtic was inspired by his friendship with their former player Alan Stubbs when the pair were Everton team-mates. When Keane left Manchester United in 2006 and joined Celtic, Rooney joined the away support at Ibrox to watch the midfielder make his Old Firm debut.
Rooney has played at Celtic Park for Manchester United in the Champions League and the 29-year-old was non-committal when asked if he could envisage himself joining the Parkhead club one day.
“I don’t know,” he smiled. “You’ve seen some great players come here and play, the likes of Roy Keane who I played with, but it’s not something I’d talk about now. I’m focused on England and Manchester United.
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“I’m good friends with Alan Stubbs, who played at Celtic for a few years. He told me about the atmosphere here. I came up to watch Celtic for myself but to play here for United in the Champions League was a completely different thing.”
Rooney has recently taken to leading the England players in a pre-match “huddle” in the same manner which has become a Celtic tradition. He will use it tonight to further prepare the younger members of his team for the atmosphere which will be created by the Scotland fans.
“I’ve played up here a few times and you know their fans will be really up for it at the start of the game,” added Rooney.
“It will be quite intimidating if you’re not used to it, so I’ve spoken to them to make sure they’re ready for it to get them settled. Not to anyone in particular. Just to the younger ones in general.
“Everyone knows this stadium, the fans here have a great reputation of making it an intimidating place to come. It was like that when I first came out here to play, so I wanted to pass on my experience.
“It is inspiring and intimidating. It’s a stadium with a particular atmosphere you want to experience as a player.”
He added: “The huddle has come from all of us as a team. It’s not something I chose to do myself. I think it shows the togetherness of the team. Up to now I’ve spoken, and a few lads have jumped in after I’ve spoken, which is great. It shows everyone is wanting to be vocal.
“It’s something we’ll continue to do. It’s between us as a team [what is said], but we take on board the messages that have been put on us all week.
“We want to keep getting them across to the players.”
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