Wayne Rooney recently took part in a photoshoot for the new Nike247-collection, where he is the front figure for the Bomba Finale II, which is specifically designed for turf use. In this regard he had a talk with Nike where he, among other things, gave a number of tips and tricks in relation to small-sided football, told about the best part of training and how it was growing up in Liverpool.

Before tonight’s exciting Manchester derby, where Manchester United more or less can secure the title, you can here read an interview with one of the profiles from the Red Devils. It is Wayne Rooney who shares his experiences with small-sided football, 5 on 5 football, etcetera. In addition, he is the fornt figure for the Nike Bomba Finale II, which is specially designed for astro- and turf surfaces. You can read the interview with Rooney below.

Wayne, tell us about the area in which you grew up. Football was everything to me and my friends, and we’d go out every day to play. Before school, after school, during school, football was all we were interested in. I think that was the same for so many kids growing up near me. I’d wake up, have breakfast, go out and play, go in, put my uniform on and head to school with a ball. I’d play before class, at lunchtime, come home and get out and play until it got dark. It was like a job even back then. I loved it so much. I think my mum was quite happy, as she knew exactly where I was.

So where did you start playing football? I was very fortunate. At the back of my house there was a small five-a-side pitch that belonged to the local youth club. I’d only have to climb over my garden fence and there I was. There were other places too, we’d find a pitch in most spots but it was that pitch behind my house that me and my mates would play on for hours.

How many people would be playing in these games? After school it could start out as three-a-side but soon end up fifteen-a-side. In the school holidays it might get to even more but soon people would tire and drop out and you might end up with just a few of you and the sun going down.  I’d be out there on my own as well though. I’d go out with just a ball and practice shooting or dribbling or whatever.

So how much did that style of football help you perfect your skills? It helped me loads. When I was on my own it was perfect. It was enclosed so I could smash the ball about and use the walls without the ball running away from me. I practiced passing and shooting all the time on my own and yes, I think it helped me get better and better.

Do you think those days affected the sort of player you became? It helped me. I got used to having the ball at my feet and having to try and keep it at my feet. When you play that style of enclosed small-sided stuff you feel the benefits when you go out and play on grass in bigger-sided games because your control has improved and you benefit from having more space.

What specific skills can young people learn from small-sided games? It’s great to master the game on concrete or Astro and if you can learn to control the ball and do tricks in small-sided games then once you come to a nice grass pitch you’ll find it easy.  Playing in these small games and just working hard on skills, tricks, moves, it will help massively in the long run. Everything I learnt came from those small matches. The tactical side of things comes later but 95 percent of my game is from those days playing as a kid.

How big a part do five-a-sides play at Manchester United? We do a bit at the end of every session and it is the best bit of training. It’s not for long but it’s what we look forward to most. Having said that it is really important. You get to express yourself, I get to try and score goals and I as I said before, you work on tight situations and how you’d get out of them.

What are your top five tips for playing small-sided football? First of all awareness. It is so tight and you need to know where defenders and team-mates are. Next isvision. Again, it is very tight and you must work on seeing the spaces available. Technique is vital so your passing and shooting can be spot-on. Strength will help you, as you need to hold players off. and finally, finishing. All good teams need a good finisher, and with small goals, you’ll need to be at the top of your game. Just keep trying. There’s no pressure. These are the games when you can try new tricks without being judged.

Wayne Rooney has evolved to become a true play maker and is now playing a bit further back on the pitch. From here, he distributes the ball to his teammates, and he is able to do this even if he only has a very tight space. As we have learnt from the interview, the small games with his friends have had a great impact on his technique and control, maybe you can recognise some of this in your own football?

The new Nike Bomba Finale II is the perfect weapon for astro- and turf surfaces, and it is a part of the new Nike FC247-collection, that you can find right here. Here, you will also find the perfect indoor- and street shoe.

Rooney has been out due to an injury, but is said to be ready for tonight’s match. Do you think he will make the difference? What do you think of the interview? Did you find his advice useful? Feel free to share your comment in the comment box below.