Sport Soccer

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Moyes plots the way forward for Rooney

Ian Herbert

Published 16/09/2013 | 05:00

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Wayne Rooney, complete with protective headband, all alone with his thoughts after making a goalscoring return for Manchester United at Old Trafford

MANCHESTER UNITED manager David Moyes has ruled out any immediate prospect of Wayne Rooney being deployed in midfield.

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On the eve of United opening their Champions League campaign, which is so integral to Rooney's Old Trafford rehabilitation, Moyes insisted he had no plans to use his No 10 in the position where he was so unhappy to be placed by Alex Ferguson last season.

Rooney was controversially dropped to the bench for United's last Champions League night at Old Trafford, against Real Madrid in March – a decision which irreparably damaged his relationship with Ferguson and contributed to the player agitating to leave for Chelsea.

Ahead of tomorrow night's encounter against Bayer Leverkusen at Old Trafford, Moyes said that Rooney's goal which sealed Saturday's victory over Crystal Palace was a key moment in his rehabilitation with supporters and made it clear that he will allow Rooney the freedom to be "what he is."

Asked if there were any plans to deploy Rooney in midfield, Moyes said: "Not just now. I can only see Wayne playing up top and playing as a forward for us.

"I don't have a goals target for him. But his targets have been big in recent years."

However, the United manager also made it clear that the final third was not the only domain where he expected the 27-year-old to operate.

"We will try and get him up there. But Wayne's game is a little bit more. He has developed into one of those centre-forwards who drops into spaces to pick up the ball. He plays in a slightly different way, so you have to appreciate him for what he does and his style of play. That's what he is."

Though Rooney mistakenly perceived some comments by Moyes this summer to imply that he was second in the pecking order behind Robin van Persie, Moyes said he wanted them in tandem.

"The hope is that we get a partnership where folk are saying: 'My goodness, we are having to play against Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney!'

"To be successful you need to have people who can score you 20 goals. I am hoping with Robin and Wayne we have two there who you would say can do that," Moyes said.

The United manager said he expected Rooney would be targeting a 30-plus tally this season.

Of the player's relationship with United's supporters, who have constantly chanted his name despite his obvious desire to leave, Moyes said:

"I am sure it (the crowd's support) has helped him to gain confidence." (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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