herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Wayne's on top of world: Park

Korean insists 'incredible' Rooney among planet's best as Gill again defends Glazers

Park Ji-sung believes it was only a matter of time before Wayne Rooney blossomed into a world-class talent.

Having been with Manchester United since 2005, Park has seen at close quarters the startling progress Rooney has made at Old Trafford.

Since Cristiano Ronaldo's world record exit for Real Madrid last summer, Rooney has moved into another gear entirely.

He now stands just 10 goals adrift of Ronaldo's staggering haul of 42 two seasons ago and still has up to 13 matches left to reach it.

And Park, speaking at the announcement of a major sponsorship deal between United and Turkish Airlines, is not about to argue with anyone who puts Rooney right in the top bracket of players.

"People regard him as one of the best players in the world and that is absolutely right," said the South Korean international.

"He has scored so many goals this season, it is incredible.

"But everyone always knew he had the talent and ability to do it, so it is not a surprise.

"He was young before. He just needed experience. This season he has grown up."

The pair will get the chance to discuss Rooney's form aboard a Turkish Airlines jet later this season, given that the carrier will fly United to their Champions League matches as part of the deal, which is yet another sign of the Red Devils' pulling power.

Having announced an agreement with Malaysia Telekom last week, United clearly remain a commercial force -- which flies in the face of accusations from those behind the hugely successful green and gold campaign that they are badly run.

And while the Glazer family will continue to attract hefty criticism for the debt mountain they built in order to complete their takeover in 2005, chief executive David Gill is staunch in his defence of them.

Problems

"People presuppose we have financial problems," Gill said.

"We do not believe that is the correct situation.

"We are very comfortable and we have a sensible business strategy that will continue for many years to come."

It has been argued by Keith Harris, part of the Red Knights group who aim to gain control from the Glazer family, that player sales will become inevitable as the interest on PIK notes taken out by the Glazer family begins to bite.

Yet Gill insists the Glazers are totally aware that United can only carry on being an attractive commercial force if Alex Ferguson is allowed the finances to maintain a successful team on the field.

"We fully understand what happens on the pitch has a real effect on what happens off it," Gill added.

"Over the years, since the Premier League came into existence in 1992, we have had sustained success under Alex Ferguson with the great players he has coached and managed.

"It has produced significant financial returns that have been reinvested back into the team, the ground, the training ground and also the players -- both in terms of new ones and new contracts for existing ones."

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