UNITED boss says a fresh maturity behind striker’s stunning start to season.
MANCHESTER United manager Alex Ferguson believes a new-found maturity is helping Wayne Rooney get among the goals.
Rooney became only the fourth player in Premier League history to score hat-tricks in back-to-back games when he netted a treble in Saturday's 5-0 win at Bolton.
It took Rooney's tally to eight for the season, more than 18 Premier League clubs have so far managed – the exceptions being United and Manchester City – and also moved him level with Bobby Charlton on seven three-timers for the club.
It is a far cry from Rooney's poor form of 12 months ago, with Ferguson believing the trigger has been his number one striker's new-found maturity.
Ferguson said: “When players get to their mid-20s, there is more thought in their game. Their timing is better. Wayne's presence is good and he is looking fantastic.”
Meanwhile, Patrice Evra has warned Chelsea what United lack in experience they make up for in energy ahead of next Sunday’s showdown between the sides.
After posting the best ever start at this stage of a Premier League season thanks to their battering of Bolton, United are ready to face the biggest test yet in their defence of the title.
Although all the talk so far this season has been about Manchester's two contenders – who have yet to drop a point between them – Chelsea are only two points adrift, having drawn their opening game at Stoke.
However, while Evra respects the Blues, he certainly does not fear them, especially knowing how much talent has been injected into the Old Trafford outfit by the clutch of youngsters Ferguson has introduced this season. “Maybe Chelsea have more experience but United have more energy,” said the France defender.
“Energy in football is really important. That is why I am really happy the young players play for us.
“They deserve it. They are training hard and the boss has never been afraid to let them play. Sunday will be a big game for us. We have to make sure we win.”
United will be without one of their youngsters, although the news about midfielder Tom Cleverley is not as bad as Ferguson initially feared after the early tackle by Kevin Davies on Saturday.
Ferguson initially thought Cleverley had broken his foot, which would have meant a three-month stint on the sidelines.
Instead, the 22-year-old has only sustained ligament damage.
The injury will be enough to keep Cleverley out for a month, a period which includes England's Euro 2012 qualifier in Montenegro.
However, the Basingstoke-born youngster should be fit by mid-November for the friendly debut Fabio Capello intends to offer, providing England avoid a play-off to reach Poland and Ukraine.
Cleverley will also miss United's opening two Champions League games, starting with Wednesday's trip to Benfica, which could be Phil Jones' debut in the competition.
“The main reason I came to Manchester United was to test my abilities against the best players in the world,” said the player, who produced an outstanding performance at full-back. “The Champions League is a great competition for me to do that. Hopefully if I get selected I will prove that I am up to the task.”