Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson says the World Cup was "poor" and admits a number of high-profile stars were major disappointments.
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The spotlight is back on Wayne Rooney for Sunday’s Community Shield encounter with Chelsea at Wembley as the striker looks to find the form that brought him 34 goals for Manchester United last term.
Yet Rooney was totally unable to reproduce that form in South Africa, returning home without managing a goal and adding his name to a list, including Fernando Torres, Nicolas Anelka, Kaka and Robin van Persie, of big-name attacking talents who failed to make their mark.
As someone who has never hidden his belief that the Champions Leae boasts greater quality than the World Cup, Ferguson was not entirely surprised.
He believes you have to go back to the 1986 tournament in Mexico – when he managed Scotland – for the last decent World Cup.
"A lot of teams and a lot of players were disappointing at the World Cup," he said.
"There is only one team who took credit and that was Spain. They kept a reasonable momentum and playing style throughout the tournament.
"The rest were spasmodic or disappointing in their form and so were some of their best players. That just went towards what was a poor tournament.
"There could be a lot of reasons for that and expectation does come into it.
"Everyone always looks forward to the World Cup as if it is going to be the greatest thing ever but you have to go back to Mexico 1986 for the last good one."
Rooney’s past feats are such that no-one seriously doubts his abilities, although Ferguson has vowed to play a long game with all his World Cup performers.
Both Rooney and Nemanja Vidic will play some part in the weekend showpiece after making their comebacks in Dublin on Wednesday, but Patrice Evra will not be involved.
Such a pivotal figure in the farcical French campaign and condemned for his part in the strike that followed Anelka’s dismissal from the camp by coach Raymond Domenech, Evra has been given extra time off by Ferguson to let his body recover from what has been an arduous few years.
"We decided to give Patrice more rest," confirmed Ferguson.
"Over the last five years he has played an average of 55 games a year.
"This summer he has had the World Cup as well so we felt he deserved another week’s rest.
"He started training yesterday and won’t be available until into the season."