Rooney set to start in Wembley semi

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Wayne Rooney is desperately hoping Sir Alex Ferguson lets him loose on old club Everton in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final.

Rooney has never played in an FA Cup-winning side, picking up losers medals against both Arsenal and Chelsea since his arrival at Manchester United in 2004 and - in addition - the England striker was forced to pull out of United's triumphant Carling Cup encounter with Tottenham after sustaining a virus.

"I missed the Carling Cup final when we last got to Wembley, so hopefully I will be part of the team that gets us to another final on Sunday," said Rooney.

The acrimony surrounding Rooney's £27million move to United followed by the abrupt downturn in his relationship with Toffees boss David Moyes has rather soured the forward's relationship with the Goodison Park faithful.

Yet as an individual, Rooney remains at heart the kid who learned his art in an Everton kit as he kicked a ball about in Croxteth, posters on his wall of heroes such as Paul Rideout, the man who scored the goal that beat United in the 1995 final.

Rooney was present at Wembley that famous day, cheering the men in blue on to victory.

This weekend he is on Ferguson's side.

"It still means something that it is Everton," said the England star. "It is the team I grew up supporting. It makes it a big day for me, although the most important thing is for United to reach the final."

Ferguson is set to make changes to the side that expended so much energy booking a European semi-final with Arsenal.

Ryan Giggs is one of those virtually certain to stand down, with Park Ji-sung in line for a start.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Tottenham Hotspur
Ryan Giggs
League Cup
Premier League
Manchester United
Wayne Rooney
FA Cup
Ji-Sung Park

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