Wayne Rooney has revealed how Manchester United’s players used to hate playing at Bolton Wanderers in their Premier League heyday.
Writing in his Sunday Times column, the former England captain recalled how French defender Patrice Evra was especially bothered about the physical treatment he used to get on visits to the Reebok.
“Bolton away was always horrible,” he said. “It was physical and you knew you had to win the fight to win the game.
“I remember Evra saying about Kevin Davies: 'I hate this person.' On throw-ins, Kevin would go and pin the full back with his elbows all over their face and in challenges when the ball went down the line he would leave his foot in.”
Rooney also said a defeat at Bolton in 2007 was the day Sir Alex Ferguson decided young Spanish defender Gerard Pique was not right for Premier League football.
Nicolas Anelka scored the only goal of the afternoon, pouncing on Pique’s error to slide in the winner and give Bolton their first home win against United in nearly 30 years.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Ferguson sold the centre-half back to Barcelona for £5million at the end of the season but would later admit it had been a mistake as Pique claimed three Champions League crowns, eight league titles and a World Cup and European Championship double with Spain.
“'Bolton away more or less finished Gerard Pique's career at United,” Rooney wrote.
“He was young and got bullied there and I think that's when Fergie decided that, physically, he wasn't right for the Premier League.
“I always remember [Nemanja] Vidic: If we were going to Bolton - and it was the same when he was about to face Didier Drogba - he would be in the gym for two or three days before, pumping himself up.”
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]