Wayne Rooney, who caused a fuss last season by telling a national newspaper he “hated” Liverpool FC, has today confessed that when he was growing up as an Everton fan, he used United’s success to wind up any Liverpool fans he came across.

“United won most of the trophies in the 1990s and for me, as an Everton fan, it was a chance to have a go back at the Liverpool fans,” said Rooney. “When the Liverpool supporters started to bother me, I could always go on about United winning the league. Then, once I started playing for Everton and England, I could see the way United played. I knew a few of the players through England and they would tell me how good it was. The manager is great as well, someone any player would want to play for. All those things were factors in me coming to the club.”