Fergie: Rooney will be the 2010 World Cup's star player
Sir Alex Ferguson expects Wayne Rooney to emerge from this summer's World Cup as the star of the tournament.
The Manchester United forward, the club's leading goalscorer this season with 15 goals in all competitions, is expected to open talks over a new contract at Old Trafford, which will replace the final two years of his current deal, in the coming weeks.
United view the 24-year-old as the club's prime asset following the £80m sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid last summer and Ferguson insists that Rooney has the ability to outshine all of his rivals when he lines up for England in South Africa at the World Cup.
Ferguson said: “Rooney is capable of being the star of the World Cup. I think he's a growing player, he is young and I have seen his development in the last few years. He's a fantastic player.
“The World Cup, over the years, has always produced a player who gets the platform to become famous because of his performances.
“A player becomes the Player of the Tournament and his whole career is celebrated because of his performances. Rooney is capable of doing that.”
Ferguson, who returned from a mid-winter training break with his squad in Qatar on Thursday, admits, however, that United continue to miss Cristiano Ronaldo, despite Rooney's form.
Ferguson said: “Of course we miss him [Ronaldo]. He's a great personality and he's a great player. He was with us for six years and that was the best we could do for him. “
Adem Ljajic, the Serbian teenager, is set to complete a £7m transfer from Partizan Belgrade to Fiorentina after undergoing a medical at the Italian club on Thursday.
Ljajic, who had been close to joining Russian champions Rubin Kazan last month, saw a proposed January move to Old Trafford called off when United abandoned a £10m option to buy the player, prompting accusations from Partizan chairman Dragan Djuric that United were in 'financial crisis'.