Ferguson hails Wayne Rooney

  • Last Updated: September 20 2013, 14:06 BST

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Wayne Rooney will have an important role to play at Manchester United this season after claiming the striker is back to his best.

Wayne Rooney and Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of last season.
Wayne Rooney and Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of last season.

Wayne Rooney

10. Wayne Rooney

Title Number
Appearances 8 (0)
Goals 4
Assists 2
Yellows 1
Reds 1
*Current Season

Rooney appeared set to leave United in the summer with reports that a fractured relationship with Ferguson - before his retirement at the end of last season - had been at the centre of his discontent.

Chelsea made bids for Rooney but the striker refused to hand in a transfer request before the end of the transfer window, indicating he may be happy to stay at Old Trafford in the longer term.

Ferguson has now weighed in by underlining his support for the 27-year-old, who scored twice on Tuesday night as United opened their Champions League campaign with a 4-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen.

"Wayne's performance was fantastic, I was pleased to see that," Ferguson told MUTV.

"He's got his energy back, the determination, his purpose to attack players, (it was) was all very encouraging to me. Being a director I'm delighted to see that, he's back to what we always remember.

"We will have a fantastic chance (of success) because in (Robin) van Persie and Rooney you have forwards who can win you games."

Ferguson also offered his backing for David Moyes, who he has been in contact with since his start to life as his successor as United boss.

The former Everton manager won the Community Shield to start his reign before overseeing a 4-1 win at Swansea in his first Premier League game in charge.

While a defeat at arch-rivals Liverpool followed, Ferguson believes United were unlucky that day.

"I loved the Swansea game, United were terrific but the Liverpool game was agony," Ferguson said.

"I spoke to David about this after the Liverpool game. We've gone there over the years 20-odd times and played worse than that and won games and I can't believe the criticisms of United in that game.

"I thought David was right. We deserved more."

Ferguson also denied suggestions he may have had influence over referees during his decorated career.

Comments from former official Mark Halsey this week, in which he referred to having a "good relationship" with the Scot, led to claims Ferguson may have had undue influence during his long stay in charge of United.

Ferguson denied any wrongdoing, though, and said the extent of his relationship with Halsey had been to support him during his battle with cancer.

"I can't believe... obviously there is an Alex Ferguson element in (Halsey's) book, he thought was important," he said.

"Most of the managers, particularly in the north west, supported (Halsey), and a lot of players by the way, when he had the cancer, him and his wife, it was a terrible period for the lad and quite rightly the football fraternity got behind him and supported him.

"We gave him jersey after jersey for the dinners he was having and of course a Manchester United strip figures greatly in these auctions, a signed strip from all the players."

Ferguson was no stranger to rows with officials during his time in the dugout, and added: "The laughable part for me was how I (supposedly) influenced the refereeing fraternity.

"This is a guy who has the worst record of any manager in the history of English football, fined £100,000 by them, suspended so many times, that's some influence, I must say. It's a little bit Walter Mitty."


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