Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has defended his fitness levels last season.

Rooney insists the only ­difference between this season and last is that his hard work is no longer going unnoticed.

Asked whether his fitness is currently better than it has ever been, Rooney replied: "No, it is the same as last season. I know, because I've got all the stats."

Questioned on whether he was trying to make a wider point, the 28-year-old added: "No, I'm just saying my fitness is the same as last season. But, obviously, it's been noticed this season. That's all."

Former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson wrote in his autobiography that Rooney's qualities could be ­"swallowed up by a lack of fitness".

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