Manchester United Legend Believes Wayne Rooney Is Slowing Down

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney.
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney at Bet365 Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, January 21. Rooney's former teammate Rio Ferdinand believes the United captain is tired after a 15-year career. Gareth Copley/Getty

Rio Ferdinand believes a 15-year career in professional football may have left his former Manchester United teammate with a body older than his years.

Speaking at London's O2 Arena, Ferdinand, who made 455 appearances for United over a 12-year career at Old Trafford, told The Times Rooney's long career may have caught up with him.

"He is 31 but has probably got the mileage of a 36-year-old with what he has done in his career and the velocity that he plays at. He is probably in a 40-year-old athlete's body," Ferdinand said.

Rooney's equalizing goal against Stoke City last Saturday broke Sir Bobby Charlton's long-standing United scoring record. The free kick was his 250th goal for United in all competitions since he joined the club in 2004.

Rooney, United's club captain, has found his opportunities more limited under the club's new manager José Mourinho. Since the autumn, he has mostly been confined to a role from the substitutes' bench.

He could feature on Thursday evening, when United takes a 2-0 lead to KCOM Stadium for the second leg of its EFL Cup semi-final against Hull City.