Wednesday 17 January 2018

'Rooney will be back to his best'

Ex-United defender Anderson tips skipper to hit goal standard

United skipper Wayne Rooney
United skipper Wayne Rooney

Viv Anderson has backed Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney to recapture his form and insisted he has nothing to prove.

The former United defender reckons the England skipper can handle the criticism after his stuttering start to the season.

Rooney has been accused of under-performing and has scored just twice in nine Premier League for United outings this term.

He has netted six goals in 14 games in all competitions ahead of tonight's League Cup visit of Middlesbrough and Anderson, who played for United between 1987 and 1991, believes Rooney must continue to play.

He said: "His record speaks for itself and he doesn't have to prove anything to anybody. I would pick Wayne Rooney every time because on any given day he could score a hat-trick. He'll only get through this spell by playing.

"If you're going through a bad time at a big club, whether it is Wayne Rooney or Diego Costa, you are always going to get stick. That's part and parcel of being captain of Manchester United and England.

"When you don't score 20 goals on a regular basis some people are going to ask questions. He has been through this many, many times and he'll come out the other side."

Boss Louis van Gaal has said he is sick of answering questions on Rooney's form despite the 30-year-old failing to have a shot on target in Sunday's 0-0 derby draw with Manchester City.

Despite Rooney's struggles United are fourth in the Barclays Premier League and just two points off leaders City and Anderson believes they must win a trophy.

"Manchester United cannot go two years without winning something, they are expected to win trophies. Louis van Gaal will expect to win something this season," added Anderson.

Former England international Anderson was assistant manager at Middlesbrough to former United team-mate Bryan Robson between 1994 and 2001 and helped them to the final of the League Cup in 1997, when they lost to Leicester.

Boro, under Aitor Karanka, are currently fourth in the Sky Bet Championship and Anderson believes they could shock United.

He said: "They will have half an eye on the league games so he (van Gaal) might give a few of the squad players a run out. That might be Middlesbrough's opportunity."

Meanwhile, Andreas Pereira is hoping for another chance to impress tonight.

The 19-year-old midfielder marked his senior debut with a superb free-kick as United beat Ipswich 3-0 in the previous round.

And the young Brazilian will not be afraid to try his luck from outside the box again should the chance arise.

"I hope I get another opportunity and I hope I can show the manager and impress everyone in the stadium and my team-mates," he said in the club's matchday programme, United Review.

"If a free-kick appears and you've been practising, you sometimes have a feeling you will score. You feel confident and it's a very good feeling when the ball goes in.

"I spend a lot of time practising them, but I also try to improve everything, not especially one thing. I practise my free-kicks, my shooting, my dribbling - everything."

United have not lifted the League Cup since 2010, and Juan Mata is determined to end that drought.

"It's going to be a good test for us at Old Trafford. I've never won this tournament, I hope we can make it this season," he said.

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