Goal-a-game Rooney can shoot us to the title, says Fergie
Published 22:20 31/03/12 By Derick Allsop
Wayne Rooney can complete the ascent from zero to hero and fire Manchester United to their 20th league title.
That’s the belief of United manager Sir Alex Ferguson as he takes his side on a potentially hazardous assignment to Blackburn.
Ferguson dropped Rooney for the last meeting of the clubs, on New Year’s Eve, after the striker turned up for training showing the effects of a late night out.
United lost that match at Old Trafford 3-2, but since then Rooney has atoned with a scoring spree that has taken his tally for the season to 28.
Now his boss is looking for him to maintain a goal-a-game strike rate for the rest of the campaign and tilt the balance of United’s Premier League duel with neighbours City.
Ferguson said: “I think Wayne’s goals will make the difference if he can keep going. He’s doing well and his scoring form is outstanding – 17 from the last 17. We’ve got eight games left and you’d probably say an average of a goal a game. You’d take that and you can reasonably expect that. There might be a game where he gets two for us.
“We’ve had a good spread of scorers this season with 18 players getting goals. Over the years, though, we’ve had one outstanding goal-scorer – Cristiano Ronaldo, Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov.”
Despite Rooney’s recent goal rush, Ferguson admits he will require something special to reach a set target of 40 and challenge Arsenal’s Robin van Persie for the Footballer of the Year award.
“Wayne can do that only if he keeps going at some rate,” Ferguson acknowledged. “Van Persie has had an exceptional season.” Rooney, now 26, has also steered clear of on-field trouble in a campaign that sees United boast the best disciplinary record in the league. Defender Jonny Evans has received their only red card so far.
Ferguson said: “You always say a player in his mid-twenties gets more control of himself and experience definitely helps in that respect.
“You see the difference maturity makes in players all the time. Everyone matures.”
United clinched last year’s title with a nerve-jangling 1-1 draw at Ewood Park and Ferguson admits he is wary of muggers lying in wait before the potential decider at Manchester City four weeks tomorrow.
He said: “There could be a shock around the corner.
“We have done particularly well over the last few weeks to get into the position we are in and it’s a matter of keeping our nerve and keeping on playing our game.
“This is definitely a big game at Blackburn. We never find it easy there and they’ve done well when they’ve scored first. So it’s not going to be easy and the players are aware of that.”