Rooney is our Pele – Fergie

It has been sung by the Stretford End for a few years now, in
recognition of the 25-year-old’s status as a player of special
talent. And, in responding to an observation from Benfica coach
Jorge Jesus that Rooney is “more Brazilian or Argentinian” than
English in the way he plays the game ahead of tomorrow night’s
Champions League encounter with United at the Stadium of Light,
Ferguson made his own comparison. “Look at Pele,” said Ferguson.
“He was a very aggressive attacker as well who could look after
himself. So can Rooney. There are similarities that way in
strength, speed and determination. “But he is white, completely
white.” In fact, Ferguson thinks of Rooney as the very best of
British, boasting the same desire, work ethic and talent as United
legends of old. “Wayne is a typical British player. But there have
been British players who have great qualities that made them great
players. “(Paul) Gascoigne, George Best, Bobby Charlton and Denis
Law. “The similarities are that the boy has great courage. He wants
to play all the time. He has incredible stamina. These are added
extras to the talent he has.” That talent has been on show to great
effect so far this season, as Rooney has scored eight times in four
Premier League games, leaving him just three adrift of his tally
from last year. Jesus has been watching the England striker
closely. And he is adamant Rooney has no peer in his native land.
“Rooney is the best British player so far,” he said. “But he plays
like an Argentinian or Brazilian. He can decide a match in the last
third of the field. We will have to pay great attention to him
tomorrow.” As Rooney has proved in the past, paying attention to
someone and actually stopping them are two entirely different
things. On present form, it is just a matter of time before the
former Everton star flies past his personal record haul of 34,
achieved before suffering the ankle injury he suffered against
Bayern Munich in March 2010 that reduced his powers for almost 12
months. Indeed, Ferguson feels it should be a twin target. For, as
Javier Hernandez marked his first start of the season with a double
in the five-goal destruction of Bolton on Saturday, Ferguson sees
no reason for the pair to stop scoring. “I am sure his best ever
goals season is a target for him,” said Ferguson. “He doesn’t come
out at the start of a season and think that way but it happened two
years ago when the target was to go over 30 and he reached it very
quickly. “If he gets to that target again I will be absolutely
delighted because with Javier’s ability to score we could have two
goalscorers well above 25.” Ferguson is still mulling over his
options for United’s first Champions League game since they were
overwhelmed by Barcelona in last season’s final. Darren Fletcher,
Ryan Giggs, Park Ji-sung and last season’s joint Golden Boot winner
Dimitar Berbatov have yet to start a game this term. Having left
Rio Ferdinand at home as a precaution and with Nemanja Vidic yet to
start training after suffering a calf injury in the opening-weekend
win at West Brom, Ferguson needs to pay careful attention to his
line-up ahead of such a packed fixture list. “The season starts
when the Champions League comes around because then you are into
games all the time,” he said. “We have the game tomorrow, Chelsea
on Sunday, Leeds United next Tuesday, Stoke away the following
Saturday, so obviously the squad will be used. “Rio has stayed
behind as a precaution and Vidic has not started training yet, so
that will be at least two weeks. “I have not decided about tomorrow
yet but it wouldn’t worry me to play the team that has been doing
well.” Although he has been omitted from the roll-call of young
stars who have electrified the season so far, Anderson has
responded to extra responsibility in midfield with a series of
effective displays. At 23, the Brazilian is hardly a veteran. On
his return to Portugal, though, the former Porto midfielder is
proving to be a very handy replacement for Paul Scholes. “It has
been a great season for me so far,” he admitted. “Hopefully I can
follow in Paul Scholes’ footsteps.”