Sir Alex Ferguson: Wayne Rooney’s record may stand forever

Manchester United’s new all-time leading goal-scorer Wayne Rooney may never be bettered, according to Alex Ferguson.

Alex Ferguson does not expect Wayne Rooney to be surpassed as Manchester United’s leading scorer after the club captain moved clear of Bobby Charlton on Saturday to take sole possession of the record.

Rooney equalised with a spectacular late free-kick away to Stoke City in the Premier League, bringing up his 250th strike for the Red Devils, after previously drawing level with Charlton by netting in an FA Cup third-round win at home to Reading.

Speaking to MUTV, Ferguson – the man who brought Rooney to Old Trafford from Everton in 2004 – was asked if he can imagine another player one day topping the 31-year-old’s haul.

“I don’t think so,” the Scot said.

“I couldn’t say never – never say never – but if you look at modern-day football, Manchester United are one of the few clubs who can keep players for over 10 years.

“It is more difficult than ever but we were very lucky – if you look at my time, even in [former manager] Sir Matt Busby’s time, we had players who stayed for more than 10 years. Many, many players did that and Wayne is one of them.

“But, in the modern day, you see it happening less and less that players stay for that length of time. For instance, [current manager] Jose [Mourinho] mentioned young Marcus Rashford and he’s got to score more than 20 goals a season for the next 10 years or so and that is difficult in itself.

“You hope it lasts and he stays here more than 10 years but there are fewer players doing that now.”

The next opportunity for Rooney to add to his tally may come in the second leg of the EFL Cup semi-final away to Hull City on Thursday, a tie United lead 2-0 on aggregate.

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‘Only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been better than Wayne Rooney’

Former England international, Stan Collymore has claimed that only Argentine captain, Lionel Messi and Portuguese superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo have had better careers than Manchester United striker, Wayne Rooney in the past decade.

Collymore, an ex-Liverpool striker believes that the Manchester United and England captain has had a decade that compares with the world’s best.

Rooney became Manchester United’s record goalscorer on Saturday when he netted his 250th goal for the club, having previously broken Bobby Charlton’s record to become England’s highest ever scorer.

Rooney, a Liverpool native moved to Old Trafford in 2004, and has won five Premier League titles as well as the Champions League since then.

According to Collymore, Rooney’s achievements in the past 10 years single him out as one of the best players in the world.

He wrote on Daily Mirror, “If you take out the big two, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, he has had as good a career as anybody in the world over the last decade.

“You don’t break Sir Bobby Charlton’s England or Manchester United’s goal records without being something very special.

“So huge congratulations to Wayne Rooney for achieving both, for a fantastic career that has seen him win virtually every trophy.”

Jose Mourinho: Rooney can go to China if he likes

Wayne Rooney will make his own decision as to whether to leave Manchester United for the riches of the Chinese Super League, according to club manager Jose Mourinho.

Rooney’s 250th Manchester United goal in the 1-1 draw at Stoke on Saturday saw him pass Sir Bobby Charlton as the club’s record scorer.

The 31-year-old came off the bench to help his side rescue a point, meaning half of his 16 league appearances this season have come as a substitute.

Several high-profile players have moved from Europe to play in the Chinese Super League, with Rooney being linked with a switch when his United career comes to an end.

Mourinho says there is more to come from Rooney at Old Trafford but insists his skipper has earned the right to decide where he wants to play in the future.

“I think he still has more to give us, but you reach a certain level in his career when it is up to him,” the former Chelsea manager told several national newspapers.

“Could anyone be critical with Zlatan (Ibrahimovic) last summer if he decided to go to China or the US? Could anyone be critical with one guy with such an amazing career? No, and I think with Wayne it is the same. He owns his life, he owns his career. It’s him, his family and his decision.

“I don’t like to be critical of players who decide to go to China. It’s their life, it’s their organisation of their life, their organisation of their career. The money is huge, the experience can also be very interesting.

“I know some of my colleagues think they are more important than they are and think they can interfere in the lives of other people, but I’m not that sort of guy.

“But in Wayne’s case, I have no idea. He never mentioned anything to me.

“The future belongs to him and what he wants from his career, the way he wants to end it and enjoy this last part of his career belongs to him.”

Rooney received the Football Writers’ Association Tribute Award on Sunday evening and focussed his attention on the national side rather than United, saying England will have a better chance of succeeding if the division between media and players dissipates.

“The younger players now have to understand that the media are a massive part of football,” Rooney said.

“I have seen first-hand since becoming captain of United and England, players have to realise that the media has a huge influence on the game, and especially on the young England players, they are the ones who have to go out and perform under the huge pressures.

“It is tough and I feel it is sometimes unfair, sometimes it is right, so the one thing, for me, that should happen – at this moment in time there is a huge gap between the media and the players.

“I think the quicker both media and the players need to come together and meet in the middle, the better it will be for English football.”

Antoine Griezmann drops huge hint he’s set to snub Manchester United transfer

Antoine Griezmann has dropped the biggest hint yet that he’s prepared to snub interest from Manchester United and remain at Atletico Madrid.

The French forward’s future has been the subject of intense speculation with United believed to be hoping to bring him to Old Trafford in the summer.

Talks between Griezmann’s party and the Red Devils are reported to have taken place earlier this month, with key details in the possible switch, such as his salary and shirt number, already agreed.

But Griezmann, 25, appeared to hit back at speculation linking him to United during Atletico Madrid’s 2-2 draw with Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

The France international rescued a point for the visitors with a late equaliser and after scoring the goal, shouted: ‘This is my home, here.’

Spanish outlet AS say Griezmann repeated the phrase while pointing to the ground, in reference to rumours linking him with a move.

Griezmann’s 80th-minute strike against Bilbao took his season tally to 14 goals from 27 games.

 

 

I’m committed to Manchester United, says Wayne Rooney

Captain and all-time leading goalscorer Wayne Rooney remains committed to Manchester United despite a lack of game-time and continued interest from China.

Rooney surpassed Bobby Charlton as United’s top scorer with his 250th goal in their 1-1 Premier League draw at Stoke City on Saturday.

The 31-year-old came off the bench in that match and his future is far from certain, with the England skipper no longer an automatic starter under Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford.

Mourinho said that he would not stand in Rooney’s way should he take up an offer in the lucrative Chinese Super League but the country’s record marksman is happy in Manchester.

“I’m committed,” Rooney told Sky Sports after receiving the Football Writers’ Association’s Tribute Award on Sunday for his services to English football. “I have been at the club for a long time.

“Football is a strange game. Anything can happen and things change very quickly but I am happy at Manchester United.

“Of course, as I have said before, I want to play more games.

“I am in a happy place, a good moment personally, so I think I have a year, with an option [of a] year to go. We will see what happens and what happens after that.”

Rooney, who was subject to a bid from Beijing Guoan before the start of the season, has made 16 Premier League appearances this season, with half of those as a starter. He has scored two goals in the league and five in all competitions.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic doesn’t understand lack of Wayne Rooney appreciation

Zlatan Ibrahimovic cannot understand why record-breaking Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney is so unappreciated and undervalued.

On Saturday the 31-year-old broke United’s all-time scoring record in sumptuous fashion, bending home an exceptional free-kick to secure a last-gasp 1-1 draw at Stoke.

Rooney was widely praised after notching his 250th United goal to move clear of Sir Bobby Charlton – just as he was when breaking the World Cup winner’s England scoring record.

Yet despite such feats, the forward cannot shake off an undercurrent of antipathy from some and Ibrahimovic, widely appreciated as one of the finest strikers of his generation, struggles to understand why his team-mate is not cherished.

“He’s a complete player,” the Swede said. “Off the field he’s a real leader and on the field he’s just complete.

“He helps his team-mates well and has that big quality – he knows how to score goals, knows how to assist.

“But he works very hard, he’s got a good attitude and spirit.

“Everybody knows what Wayne is. But this country has to appreciate him.

“I don’t see any other strikers like him today. Give me some names. Tell me. And still you’re not happy.”

Rooney is not unequivocally loved like Charlton, but his impact for club and country is undeniable.

Where Rooney will fit in the pantheon of United greats is up for debate, but Ibrahimovic pointed to giants of the past when underlining the enormity of what he has achieved.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “He’s the top scorer of the club and I’m very happy for him.

“It’s a big thing you know – many great players have been here and his name is right on top.

“I’m very proud to have been on the same field as him when he did it and hopefully he can continue to do what he’s doing.”

Rooney’s memorable weekend continued on Sunday as the Football Writers’ Association presented him with the annual Tribute Award, recognising his outstanding contribution to the national game.

Jesse Lingard believes the forward deserves all the praise he is getting, saying United’s captain is an inspirational figure at Old Trafford.

“It’s an excellent record and for the young strikers coming through,” the home-grown winger said.

“Wayne has set a great example for them and we look up to him as a great leader and role model.

“It was mixed emotions, but we know it’s a great record that Wayne has set and it’s a great standard for the youngsters to look up to.”

Jose Mourinho: Wayne Rooney can leave Manchester United for China

Jose Mourinho would not stop Wayne Rooney securing a big-money move away from Manchester United to China.

The Portuguese coach admitted that the fees on offer were difficult to turn down and also accepted that players could be keen on a move to the Far East for cultural reasons.

Quizzed on whether Rooney would leave for the Chinese Super League, after he had become Manchester United’s top goalscorer with a record-breaking 250th goal to snatch a draw against Stoke, Mourinho refused to rule out his exit.

And with Guangzhou Evergrande and Beijing Guoan willing to spend £700,000-a-week on the England captain, Mourinho would not be surprised if he went on his way and will allow Rooney to make the decision.

‘I don’t know, it’s up to him,’ he said.

‘I don’t like to be critical of players who decide to go to China. It’s their life, it’s their organisation of their life, their organisation of their career.

‘The money is huge. The experience can also be interesting.

‘I know some of my colleague think they are more important than they are and think they can interfere in the lives of other people but I am not that sort of person.

‘Everybody is responsible for their own life. I’m not critical with anyone.

‘To be honest, in Wayne’s case, I have no idea because he has never mentioned it to me.’

Paul Pogba risks becoming a Manchester United flop like Memphis Depay, says Ruud Gullit

Paul Pogba has been warned he must focus on his football by Ruud Gullit, or end up on the Manchester United scrapheap like Memphis Depay.

The misfiring Netherlands winger completed a £22 million to Lyon on Friday after failing to impress over the course of an underwhelming 18 month at Old Trafford.

Pogba, meanwhile, has shown only glimpses of his best form since his world record move from Juventus in the summer and Gullit feels he is being distracted by his off-field commitments.

‘Paul Pogba is going through the same thing at United as Memphis Depay,’ said former Chelsea manager Gullit.

‘He may be the most expensive player in the world, but that does not count if he is spending more time on his dress style, the colours in his hair and his social media.

‘Paul should ask Memphis – and he will realise that being successful and reaching top level in England is only possible if you perform every week and if you dedicate everything to your career.

‘Memphis was heavily criticised because he found it more important to pimp his image than improve his football. He should have known that stuff on the pitch goes before anything.

‘Pogba will also get the wrath of the fans. People will start to moan and have a go at him.

‘Even for the biggest football stars in the world there is a big rule: Playing well for your club comes first, don’t let all the other stuff catch the limelight. That is my advice.’

Sir Bobby Charlton visits Man Utd dressing room to congratulate Rooney

Manchester United legend Bobby Charlton came to the players’ dressing room to congratulate Wayne Rooney on his record-breaking 250th goal for the club after today’s game against Stoke.

The England captain scored in stoppage time to help United to a 1-1 draw, and in the process overtook Charlton as United’s all-time leading goalscorer.

Charlton’s record had stood for over 40 years, but Rooney has now firmly cemented his place as one of United’s best-ever players with this incredible feat.

Having already received congratulations from his old manager Sir Alex Ferguson, Rooney also tweeted a picture of himself and Charlton speaking after today’s game.

Rooney said: ‘Huge honour to become leading goalscorer for Man Utd. Thanks to Sir Bobby for his kind words after the game.’

Slightly overshadowed today was also the fact that Rooney moved ahead of Alan Shearer on most away goals in Premier League history.

Jose Mourinho: Rooney now a Manchester United legend

The Red Devils boss paid tribute to his captain after he became the club’s record goalscorer on Saturday, in the club’s 1-1 draw with Stoke.

Jose Mourinho described Wayne Rooney as “a legend of Manchester United” after his last-gasp equaliser against Stoke City saw him break the club’s goalscoring record.

The 31-year-old swept in a brilliant free-kick with seconds remaining at the bet365 Stadium to move onto 250 goals in 546 appearances – one more than former record-holder Bobby Charlton.

And Mourinho praised his captain for claiming a place in the history of both the club and the global game.

“The record is the record,” he told Sky Sports after the 1-1 draw. “It is the record of the biggest club in England and one of the biggest in the world. “Before him the record belonged to a legend of English football. Now Wayne becomes a legend of Manchester United.”

Stoke boss Mark Hughes, twice a Premier League-winner in a distinguished United playing career, believes Rooney can now set a record that will never be broken.

“It is an outstanding record and won’t be surpassed,” he told BBC Sport. “It has taken 40-odd years for Sir Bobby’s record to be broken which shows how high a mark it was.”

Rooney’s goal came in the fourth minute of injury time to salvage a point after Juan Mata’s first-half own goal looked to have handed Stoke the win.

Mourinho was frustrated that his side did not do better with the chances they created but credited Stoke for a well-organised defensive approach.

“It was a big game with two teams in the beginning trying to win,” he said. “But after 25 minutes one team tried to win and the other tried to defend, which they did amazingly well. They showed great work rate and did everything to try and stop us.

“We did everything well except in front of our target. We missed unbelievable chances. We hit the post, the keeper saves, we miss chances and we have another draw. We have too many draws for the attacking play we produce. Opposition goalkeepers are always amazing against us.”

Hughes felt a little aggrieved at the amount of injury time added by referee Mark Clattenburg but praised his side’s resilience during long spells of United pressure.

“I didn’t feel there was five minutes added on but that gave them enough time to get something out of the game,” he said. “We are disappointed but we need to pick ourselves up. We were within seconds of beating a very good Manchester United team.

“My only criticism to the guys is that we didn’t keep the ball long enough. We are good enough to do that but we needed more care to get up the other end of the pitch. But fair play to Man United: they put on attacking players and made it hard for us to get out.

“In the end we tried to protect what we had and I can’t criticise what we did for the free-kick.”