Wayne Rooney admits he doubted his abilities as a player and felt embarrassed at times during the final stages of his Manchester United career.
The 33-year-old only started 15 Premier League matches, and scored just five goals, in his last season at Old Trafford before returning to his boyhood club Everton in 2017.
United manager Jose Mourinho often left Rooney out of the squad, and the England star, who collected his 120th cap for the national team Thursday, felt inadequate due to his minimal contributions.
“There are times when you doubt yourself as a player and think: ‘Am I good enough?'” Rooney said in an interview with former United teammate and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville.
“The time Jose Mourinho left me out of the Manchester United team … there are moments when you do doubt yourself. I believe I was good enough to get back in the team, but I never really got that opportunity.
“I came on for one minute in the Europa League final, I was about to come on against Southampton in the League Cup final, and in those moments it was embarrassing.”
The League Cup final in February 2017 was a turning point for the owner of Manchester United’s all-time scoring record.
“It was getting to a point where I was embarrassed,” Rooney said. “I thought: ‘I can’t keep doing this,’ as hard as it was to leave Man United.
“In the Southampton game, Mourinho came to me and said: ‘I want you to lift the trophy.’ I was like: ‘Well, I didn’t even play in the game.’
“He was persistent with it, and I literally lifted it and moved it on. I just knew … What was I doing? I needed to move on and go somewhere else.”
After a resurgent season at Everton, where he scored 10 league goals, Rooney moved across the pond to join Major League Soccer side D.C. United. Rooney scored 12 goals and provided seven assists, playing a significant role in guiding D.C. United to an unlikely playoff berth.