Rooney close to world’s best – Moyes

David Moyes has buried the hatchet with Wayne Rooney and admitted

his former striker is destined to become one of the best in the

world.

Everton boss Moyes fell out with the Manchester United and

England star prior to his acrimonious £27million move to Old

Trafford in 2004.

The pair later became involved in a libel dispute following

claims by Rooney in his autobiography but that was settled two

years ago and Moyes now has the utmost respect for the 24-year-old.

Rooney has been in outstanding form for United, scoring 25

times this season, and he will be reunited with Moyes as the

Barclays Premier League champions visit his boyhood club on

Saturday.

Moyes said: “I think Wayne is a top player and I think he is

going to be a great player.

“He has added goals to his game, maturity, understanding –

all the things you would expect from a maturing player.

“I think time will be the test of whether he becomes the best

in the world but he is certainly getting very close to it.”

One of Rooney’s written criticisms was that Moyes was

overbearing but the player has since apologised.

Moyes now believes Everton can feel proud of the role they

played in Rooney’s development but he thinks the club have learned

lessons from the way his situation was handled.

Rooney came through the Everton ranks and was tipped for

stardom even before he burst into the first team at the age of 16.

Moyes said: “All credit to Wayne, he rang me to apologise

about a year ago for all the things he wrote in his book.

“That was something that made me realise he was a maturing

man.

“He realised what he had been given at Everton was great and

his development, what we tried to do, was right.

“All in all, I think Wayne would probably look back on his

time at Everton as being good.

“We probably weren’t ready for Wayne Rooney at the time. I

think we would be more ready now.”

While Rooney will undoubtedly hope to make his mark at his

former stomping ground, Everton will have a striker of their own

wanting to impress against old employers.

Louis Saha has enjoyed a new lease of life since joining

Everton from United at the start of last season, putting behind him

an injury-ravaged four-year spell at Old Trafford.

The Frenchman has scored 15 goals this term and struck twice

to stun league leaders Chelsea nine days ago.

Moyes said: “I don’t think he has got a point to prove

against them, Louis is well known as a top player wherever he has

been.

“He had a difficult last couple of years at Manchester United

because of injury but I think overall most people would say he is

one of those strikers that can be very difficult to play against.”

United will hope to take advantage of the lunchtime kick-off

to put pressure on Chelsea, who play at Wolves later in the

afternoon.

Victory would, possibly only briefly, take United top of the

table but Moyes has assured them of a tough contest.

In-form Everton have lost just one of their last 11 league

outings to move up to ninth and possibly into European contention.

Moyes said: “We have a belief here we can beat any team on

our day.

“Manchester United has been a difficult fixture in the past

but I think overall, with the players we have got here, that they

will certainly be given a game.”

Everton, however, must fill a void in midfield after losing

the services of two key midfielders in Marouane Fellaini and Tim

Cahill.

Fellaini was ruled out for the season with an ankle injury

earlier this week and his loss was compounded when Cahill strained

a damaged calf in the Europa League defeat of Sporting Lisbon on

Tuesday.

Moyes added: “It has been a really difficult season not

helped by losing Marouane Fellaini and Tim Cahill.

“We seemed to be saying we were getting players back.

“It is as well we do feel in good fettle because we are

winning, we are on a run. We have got to watch we don’t lose any

more.”