Fer­gu­son cor­rect in his full­some praise of spe­cial tal­ent Rooney

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODHANGOUTS -

JUST 10 days ago, Alex Fer­gu­son was wax­ing lyri­cal on the topic of moder n day foot­ballers.

The “multi mil­lion­aires in the dress­ing room” as he dis­parag­ingly called them, had to be treated a whole lot dif­fer­ently to their pre­de­ces­sors, those whom Fer­gu­son had first known when he set out on his man­age­rial ca­reer at lit­tle known East Stir­ling­shire in his na­tive Scot­land, way back in 1974.

Fer­gu­son still pro­posed one qual­ity as es­sen­tial in deal­ing with the young men.

Be­ing strong, was his an­ti­dote to player power, both then and now.

Given that the list of play­ers with whom Fer­gu­son has gone to war is fairly lengthy and in­cludes no­ta­bles such as David Beck­ham and Jaap Stam, it can be safely de­ducted that the Scot does not ex­actly leap into print with reg­u­lar paeons of praise for his play­ers.

It takes some­thing very spe­cial for Fer­gu­son to dis­card the habits of a life­time.

Thus, it is in such a light that we should view his com­ments on striker Wayne Rooney fol­low­ing Manch­ester United’s Car­ling Cup semi-fi­nal win over their near neigh­bours Manch­ester City this week.

Rooney’s ex­traor­di­nary per­for­mance mer­ited ev­ery word of Fer­gu­son’s warm trib­ute; it was, as his man­ager said, gen­uinely a world class per­for­mance, one sure to cre­ate cov­etous eyes in the en­vi­rons of Barcelona’s Nou Camp and the San­ti­ago Bern­abeu sta­dium in Madrid.

Fer­gu­son said “I thought Wayne was much bet­ter to­day than he was on Satur­day when he scored four goals against Hull.

“His con­trol, his lead­ing of the line and his pen­e­tra­tion were ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic tonight. It was a world class dis­play.”

It was in­deed and it un­der­lined the enor­mous re­liance Eng­land will have on the young Manch­ester United player at this year’s World Cup.

Fabio Capello is still wrestling with the ex­act in­tri­ca­cies of his front line; whether the tough, bustling Emile Heskey will part­ner Rooney up front, or whether Eng­land could af­ford to go with both Rooney and the free-scor­ing Jer­maine De­foe in the same start­ing line-up or in­deed whether Rooney should op­er­ate just be­hind the front line or ac­tu­ally lead it him­self, all alone.

By his per­for­mances this sea­son in which he has now amassed 21 goals, Rooney is mak­ing one hell of a claim for the lat­ter role.

His mer­cu­rial per­for­mances for Manch­ester United in the last seven days, against Hull City last week­end and then in mid­week against City, give sus­te­nance to the claims that Rooney is now close to be­com­ing the best all round striker in world foot­ball. And he ap­pears to be tim­ing his run to the World Cup fi­nals with ab­so­lute per­fec­tion. In one sense, that will thrill Capello. Yet in an­other, it will alarm him, set off warn­ing bells all over FA head­quar­ters at Wem­b­ley.

For what if Rooney were in­jured, suf­fer­ing for ex­am­ple a re­peat of that frac­tured metatarsal that so re­stricted him for the 2006 World Cup?

Per­ish the thought, not just from Eng­land’s point of view but for the sake of the game world­wide.

For, if a World Cup is to mean any­thing, it should surely be a tour­na­ment where the best pa­rade their glit­ter­ing skills.

Right now, few foot­ballers of con­tem­po­rary times have more skills to of­fer than the young English­man.

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