Hodgson sees value in ace Rooney

Roy Hodgson saw Fulham become the latest to be dismantled by Wayne

Rooney and said it is no surprise Real Madrid say he’s worth

£100million.

Real president Florentino Perez is “obsessed” with Rooney

according to the club’s former president Ramon Calderon, despite

the fact neither Manchester United nor their star man have given

any indication a transfer is possible.

And after taking his tally for the season to 32 with the

first two goals in a 3-0 win over the Cottagers at Old Trafford

that took United back to the Premier League summit, Hodgson could

only join the chorus of praise.

“Wayne Rooney is proving he is among the best in the world

every week,” said Hodgson.

“He is scoring lots of goals in a tough league like ours. He

is starring for England and is starring in the Champions League.

“Anyone doing that is a player who will be talked about and

someone everyone else is going to be coveting. It is no surprise

people are coveting Wayne Rooney.

“It is pointless for me to say Wayne Rooney is an excellent

player because you could get that from the man in the pub.

“I just know we don’t have that kind of money.”

At the moment, Rooney is driving United towards an

unprecedented fourth successive title.

After a goalless first half, the former Everton star took

just 29 seconds to break the deadlock, converting Nani’s return

pass in clinical fashion.

With Brede Hangeland forced off with a chest injury suffered

in a first half collision with Antonio Valencia, the hosts then

spurned a succession of chances, and survived a scare when Bobby

Zamora found himself clean through, before Rooney settled frayed

nerves when he tucked home Dimitar Berbatov’s cutback.

Berbatov rounded off victory near the end, although all the

focus was on Rooney, who is now just 10 behind Cristiano Ronaldo’s

staggering total from two years ago that helped crown him world

player of the year.

Not that Rooney is the type to welcome any comparisons.

“If I am being honest, getting to 42 goals wouldn’t mean a

lot to me,” he said. “It is not something I have looked at.

“Obviously it is nice to score goals. I want to score goals

in every game and what Cristiano Ronaldo achieved was unbelievable.

“But I am a different player and a different person. I am not

comparing myself to Cristiano.”

United are now two points ahead of Chelsea – who have a game

in hand – and Arsenal, with eight games remaining, starting with

next week’s eagerly-anticipated visit of Liverpool, and including

the visit of Carlo Ancelotti’s men on April 3.

But Sir Alex Ferguson is not expecting anything to be decided

yet.

“At the moment it is looking like the tightest Premier League

we have had,” said the United chief.

“It is very tight. We only have eight games left. Chelsea

have nine. We are all involved in Europe. Chelsea also have the FA

Cup.

“I suppose the simple way for us and Chelsea to look at it is

just to win all our games. But life is never that simple.”

Apparently, though, it is exactly that simple for Berbatov,

who endured a frustrating afternoon in front of goal prior to his

own effort, even though he was picked out as one of United’s star

men by Hodgson.

“There can only be one winner and I think it is going to be

us,” said the £30.75million Bulgarian.

“Arsenal and Chelsea are great teams and we have difficult

games ahead of us but the good thing is we play at home at Old

Trafford against Chelsea and that will be an advantage for us.

“I am optimistic that in the end we will be champions.”