It has been reported that Wayne Rooney has dismissed doubts over his long-term fitness due to his body shape.
The Manchester United striker has heard the soothsayers predict that his unathletic build will see him on the scrapheap by age 30, but says his beefiness will lengthen, not cut short, his career.
Rooney, 29, said: “When I first came into the professional game a lot of people were looking at me and saying my body shape would not allow me to play for that long.
“But in some ways I feel it has helped me because I am quite strong in my body and I have not picked up a lot of muscle injuries.
“You have seen players over the years who have suffered hamstring injuries or thigh injuries and it can be difficult to come back and be the same player when you reach a certain age, but I have been lucky enough not to have any.
“I had a small injury in my groin last year but other than that all my injuries have been impact injuries. I feel good and I feel as fit as ever, so I just have to keep working and training.
“Compared to the physique of some players I am not a natural athlete. I am not built that way. But in terms of miles covered in training and on the pitch I am always at the top, so I think it does not matter what you look like as a player physically.
“I think it is how you get about the pitch and I have certainly had no problems throughout my career with that.
“I think the next few years will be vital. How I look after myself and how I do my training – that will determine how long I play on for.”