Rooney: I asked to quit penalty duty

Wayne Rooney has revealed he asked Alex Ferguson to take him off Manchester United penalty duties.

Striker Rooney blazed his latest effort over against West Ham last month, the second time this season he has failed from the spot. Ferguson indicated he needed to make a change, and when United got another penalty against Fulham last weekend, it was Ryan Giggs who stepped up to put his side ahead.

But Rooney has revealed Robin van Persie, who did not start on Saturday, has now taken over as United’s number one taker.

“To be honest it was my choice,” Rooney told MUTV.

“It wasn’t good enough.

“I went in to speak with the manager and said I’d spoken with Robin and told him he could take them. At a club like this, to miss two penalties like I did and not hit the target wasn’t good enough.”

Ferguson says United were lucky to beat Southampton 2-1 on Wednesday, a result that followed a string of similar performances in which they were in control only to end up hanging on for victory.

“It must be hard for our fans,” said Ferguson. “It is the sadistic nature of our team.

“We’ve been in comfortable positions but haven’t dug our nails in.

“It’s frustrating because I know we’re capable and goal difference is an issue. At the moment we’re only two goals better off than Manchester City. That could be undone in one game.”

Of more immediate significance is United’s seven-point advantage at the top of the Barclays Premier League, which will increase to 10 if they beat Fulham at Craven Cottage today.

Ferguson is not taking anything for granted, though, especially after losing a similarly commanding lead to Manchester City last season.

“There is no need to remind them about last year,” he said. “What happened last season happened. There is a long way to go and a lot can happen.

“We’re not certainties. Nobody is in this league.”

With Jonny Evans fit and Rio Ferdinand in line for a recall, Phil Jones may be rested this evening.

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