Norwich City defender Zak Whitbread eyes Wayne Rooney reunion
Zak Whitbread would love the chance to renew acquaintances with Manchester United superstar Wayne Rooney in today's Premier League tussle at Carrow Road.
Whitbread was treated to a glimpse of Rooney's prodigious talent before he was catapulted into the national consciousness as a teenage top flight scorer for boyhood club Everton. Former Liverpool academy product Whitbread revealed he had an even earlier brush with the Croxteth sensation in a youth Merseyside derby.
'I played against him as a kid for Liverpool against Everton,' said the fit-again Norwich centre back. 'He came on for a sub for ten minutes and scored two or three goals. That was one to forget. I imagine it would have been at U18s level and he would have been maybe 15, just before he scored that first senior goal for Everton. We were 2-1 up when he came on.
'It is a great challenge. I was gutted to miss out on games like United and Liverpool earlier in the season when I was injured. These sort of games mean you face the best players in the world and that is definitely something you want to test yourself against and see if you can match them and hopefully get a result.'
Whitbread missed three and a half months of the current campaign with a hamstring injured against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. A fresh injury forced him out of the recent Bolton Premier League win, but the American is back fit and firing again.
'I think I came off the right time (against Bolton) if I had stayed on a bit longer it could have been a longer lay-off,' he said. 'I was disappointed but I came through a lot of games in a short period of time. I feel good now in training, things are going well and I am looking forward to Sunday. We want to win the game. Obviously they are massive favourites to win it so the pressure is on them with them going for the title but there is also pressure on us because we don't want go out there and get turned over. The lads put their own pressure on themselves. The manager and coaches won't need to gee us up.'