Saturday 25 November 2017

Rooney 'can't turn without a camera on him' -- Ferguson

"The boy is starting to realise probably, finally, without any question, what kind of focus is on him as a human being," said Ferguson. "I don't think the boy can turn without a camera on him. But for a young person that is not what you want.

"You want to play and enjoy your football without that attention on you that can be quite exhausting."

Rooney returned for the Champions League tie with Rangers last week and last Sunday's victory over Liverpool, but failed to score in either game.

This Sunday he is set to play his first match away from Old Trafford since the allegations, although Bolton's Reebok Stadium is unlikely to prove the most intimidating of venues.

Ferguson rejected suggestions that Rooney has struggled this season as a result of a lack of confidence.

In the aftermath of a poor World Cup, the 24-year-old has scored just once for his club, and that from the penalty spot against West Ham. "I don't believe he has a confidence problem," said Ferguson.

United's trip to Bolton offers the prospect of closing the four-point gap on Chelsea, with the Premier League leaders facing their first real test of the campaign at Manchester City tomorrow at lunchtime.

Ferguson has been casting some envious glances down the champions' fixture list, which gifted them a gentle opening to the league campaign against West Brom, Wigan, Stoke, West Ham and Blackpool.

"I think Chelsea chose the calendar themselves -- it's quite an amazing start of the season," said Ferguson. "But they finished last season scoring a lot of goals against weaker teams and have continued that way.

"You still have to beat those teams and Chelsea do that in quite a strong fashion -- anyone who wins the league will have to finish above them. The previous winners always deserve respect because the Premier League is a difficult league."

Ferguson has rarely shied away from putting his neighbours in what he sees as their place -- as the second biggest club in Manchester -- but he does now regard them as a potential threat to the big three of United, Chelsea and Arsenal.

He said: "City did not have the strongest start of the season, but you have to think that with the squad they have they will be there.

"I saw the Liverpool game (which City won 3-0) and they are going to be a big challenge, the power they have. Roberto (Mancini) bought half a team in the summer and that will not be easy to bed down, but if they get continuity they will certainly be a threat. It is too early to make strong predictions. You have to give respect to Tottenham's progress in the last few years.

"The disappointment for me is Everton's start -- I had put them down as one of the big favourites. Change of manager at Villa will take time for them to make an impact -- Gerard (Houliier) has a learning curve to achieve.

"Arsenal, Chelsea and ourselves started reasonably well and will all be there at the end of the season but it remains to be seen in what order, and whether Tottenham can break into the top four (again). But the top three are the strongest at the moment." (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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