Roo: Hernandez can be our hero

Roo: Hernandez can be our hero

Published May. 28, 2011 12:32 p.m. ET

Wayne Rooney has tipped Manchester United strike partner Javier Hernandez to be the Champions League hero at Wembley on Saturday night.

Not only has the Mexican scored 20 goals in United's charge to the Premier League title and the final of Europe's most prestigious club competition, his pace has helped provide Rooney with more room to display his own talents.

As the 25-year-old is now in the best form since injuring his ankle against Bayern Munich, it is little wonder he speaks so enthusiastically of Hernandez's contribution.

And, perhaps it is no surprise either Rooney feels his team-mate is destined to earn the greatest comparison possible to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the man he is likened to so often.


"The season he has had is incredible," Rooney told United's website. "Nobody expected this from him. He is a nice lad who works very hard in training. We often stay out a bit longer and do a bit of finishing work together in order to try and improve.

"He is playing every week now and scoring a lot of goals.

"What he has done is quite incredible. It wouldn't surprise me if he ends up scoring the winning goal in the final to top it off."

Rooney revels in the space behind Hernandez, knowing defenders cannot squeeze too tight for fear of being burned off in a long chase for a ball over their heads.

It means Rooney can roam with far greater flexibility, which could prove to be crucial against a team whose weakness seems to be behind their highly-talented midfield.

"The position I've been playing, just behind Javier, has been working well for the team," said Rooney.

"I do need to help out in midfield when we don't have the ball.

"But I also feel I could influence the game in the way I'd like."

Ferguson's master plan for combating Barcelona's sublime passing game has yet to be unveiled.

However, in stressing the need for concentration, the United manager appears to have accepted chasing around trying to get the ball off Xavi and Andres Iniesta is a futile exercise.

Far more important is where they get the ball, the onus being placed upon pushing Barcelona into areas where they can do minimal damage.

"It is the same when we play Arsenal," said Rooney. "They like to keep the ball a lot. In those instances it's about how you close the spaces down.

"If they have 70% possession and it's in their own half that's not going to worry us at all.

"In the last few years when we have played Arsenal they have probably ended games with more possession but we have won almost every game.

"It is about creating chances and taking them."