Men’s Fitness meets Wayne Rooney
The Premier League's best striker tells MF about his inspiration, his toughest opponent and his sharp-shooting new boots.
If you've seen Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney in action recently, the first thing you'll have noticed - well, after his amazing goalscoring form - is his bright green and red boots. These are the Nike Total 90 Laser IIIs and MF was recently invited to Carrington, Manchester United's plush training complex, to check them out and find out how much of Rooney's sharp-shooting performances are down to the footwear.
When we arrive at Carrington, Chris Tyler, a member of Nike's product development team, explains that the boot was developed using player feedback, which Nike regards as vital. Liverpool's Fernando Torres asked for a better striking area, Milan midfield enforcer Gennaro Gattuso wanted a meaner look and Rooney's prerequisite was more power. The boot has been created to satisfy all of these requirements and no doubt a few more besides.
When Rooney himself enters the room, he quickly shows that he loves talking about the game - and that he genuinely digs the Total 90 boots, even beyond the obligations of his Nike sponsorship. He raves about how comfortable they feel when striking and - unsurprisingly given his history of metatarsal trouble - the added protection they provide.
He also reveals that Michael Owen’s goal against Argentina inspired him to become a footballer and England head coach Fabio Capello has the ability to scare the living daylights out of him. Oh, and the best footballer he has ever played against? Lionel Messi? Zinedine Zidane? No - Holland's Clarence Seedorf.
When we get the chance to put the Total 90 Laser III through its paces on the training pitch, I start to dream. Will Sir Alex be watching? Am I about to become the Premier League's all-time late developer? Will my view of this year's Champions League final be from the pitch rather than the sofa? Er, no.
But for a fleeting moment I actually feel like Rooney, slipping the ball neatly through an opponent's legs and slotting it into the corner of the net. However, I soon come crashing back down to earth when they test our shooting skills with the 'Torres Challenge'. Even with these fancy new boots, it's safe to say my performance will not trouble the Spain striker.
The shooting pads are the most obvious addition, but it’s the subtle improvements to the boots that make the big difference. Hugging my foot gently yet firmly, they are noticeably more comfortable and the reconfigured instep is undoubtedly a huge upgrade. Nike also says that this resilient boot will be as firm and fire as effectively on its hundredth outing as it does on its first.
But the real proof is provided on the pitch and with Rooney on course for the best goalscoring season of his career, it looks like it's living up to the hype. Let's just hope it can carry Rooney and his team-mates to glory in South Africa this summer as well...
For more football boot reviews, subscribe to the magazine (opens in new tab) and check out our monthly football boot round-ups on the website.
You can pick up a pair of T90 Laser IIIs at ransacker.co.uk (opens in new tab).
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