Wednesday 21 March 2018

Ferguson issues Rooney penalty warning

Mark Ogden

Wayne Rooney is at risk of losing his grip on penalty-taking at Manchester United after being warned by Alex Ferguson that he must improve his success rate.

Having shot wide from the penalty spot during last week's 2-1 victory against Arsenal at Old Trafford, Rooney redeemed himself by scoring a penalty on Champions League duty against Braga in midweek.

That was despite television replays showing that the goal should have been disallowed because Rooney slipped and touched the ball twice before it went into the net.

Prior to Rooney's miss against Arsenal, Robin van Persie, Nani and Javier Hernandez had also missed from the spot for United this season, with only Ryan Giggs -- who converted against Chelsea in the League Cup -- having a flawless penalty record for the club this term.

But with Rooney posting an unremarkable tally of 17 goals from 25 penalties in his United career, Ferguson admits the England striker (pictured) must improve his accuracy from 12 yards or face losing the job to somebody else.

"There's no chance that he (Rooney) will ask to stop taking penalties, but he will not want to miss another one," Ferguson said.

"I think Wayne has to accept he has to have a better strike-rate with his penalties.

"He has to accept that he has to produce better, but he is capable.

"The one thing about Rooney, though, is that it wouldn't matter if it was a World Cup final or a Rumbelows Cup first-round game against an amateur team, he would still want to score.

"And his temperament is that, if he misses, it won't affect him and that is important for a penalty taker.

"That can be an issue with lots of players who take penalties.

"If they miss it, how they handle it can be a problem, but Wayne is good that way. He has the right temperament.

"His penalty the other night, even though he slipped, was well struck and it hit the target and that is important.

"If you hit the target, you are relying on the 'keeper to make a great save. If he does, full marks to him, but you have to give yourself the chance of making sure he has to make a great save."

With Van Persie missing one and scoring one from the spot this season, Ferguson bemoaned the fact that the Giggs was no longer guaranteed to be involved every week.

"I think our best penalty taker is probably Giggs," Ferguson remarked.

"I can only ever remember him missing one, in an FA Cup penalty shoot-out against Southampton (in February 1992).

"But Ryan doesn't play every week, so I would have to bring him on like in those American football games."

Ferguson, who is still assessing the fitness of defender Jonny Evans ahead of tonight's trip to Aston Villa, admits United's penalty issue has been compensated for by the number of players on the scoresheet this season.

"We have 15 different goalscorers this season and it is definitely helping us," Ferguson said. "The satisfying thing is the goals around the team. Fifteen different scorers is quite healthy, but we will take them from anyone.

"It doesn't matter who gets the goals as long as we get them." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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