Nevermind Arsenal in the FA Cup quarter-finals, Manchester United skipper Wayne Rooney is firmly focused on lifting the trophy in his first season as captain.
United’s eye-catching last-eight fixture against the holders Arsenal has been compared to a final by manager Louis van Gaal and for Rooney the famous old cup holds added significance.
In 1995 his boyhood club Everton beat his current employers and ever since the FA Cup has been a source of fascination for the England striker.
“We haven’t been to a final for a few years, we want to try to win that game and we are looking forward to that,” Rooney told United’s website.
“Of course, I think it is a massive trophy. It is a trophy that, growing up as a youngster, I used to love watching.
“I was fortunate enough to see Everton lift the FA Cup in 1995 when I was nine years old. It is something which I would love to do and hopefully it can be this year.”
Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal are the highest-ranked team left in the competition and the only team who sit above United in the league.
Van Gaal senses an opportunity, United having led a charmed life in the competition so far with at times unconvincing wins over Yeovil, Cambridge United and Preston, for the 11-times FA Cup winners to land a psychological blow to Arsenal.
“It is a very important game, not only for the FA Cup but also for the rat race,” said the former Netherlands boss.
“Arsenal and United are now in third and fourth place, so it is a big event with two good teams.
“If we beat them it is a big blow for them, but if they beat us it is a big blow for us.”
Despite their league positions both managers are in need of success after failing to meet expectations.
And the FA Cup represents Van Gaal’s last chance to maintain his run of winning a trophy in his first season with each new club.
The Dutchman will be hoping for a repeat of his side’s 2-1 league victory over Arsenal and will take heart from the fact they have won the previous two FA Cup meetings between the sides.
Meanwhile Arsenal’s past two cup victories over United have led to triumphs in 2003 and 2005, when Patrick Vieira scored the winning penalty with his final kick for the Gunners.
The tie is United’s first home draw in this year’s competition and their Dutch boss is expecting the fans to create a brilliant atmosphere.
“We have the support of our fans but Arsenal shall bring a lot of fans too,” added the Champions League winning coach.
“It is a big event with two good teams so I hope we can give a fantastic match for the fans.”
Wembley awaits the victor and with one of Bradford and Reading guaranteed to make the semi-finals both clubs will feel silverware is well within reach.
Former Arsenal striker Robin van Persie will miss the game after failing to recover from injury, so Rooney is likely to continue up front.
Meanwhile expensive loanee Radamel Falcao should keep his place on the bench for the Old Trafford fixture.
Wenger has no new injury worries but new centre-back Gabriel will miss the match after pulling his hamstring against Queens Park Rangers.
Main image courtesy of Nike Football via YouTube, with thanks.