Pairing excites Sir Alex
With Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie yet to start up front together for Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson has described the two partnering each other in attack as a “terrific prospect”.
With Danny Welbeck, Javier Hernandez and summer signing Shinji Kagawa also providing tough competition for places, the United manager is more than happy with his attacking ranks.
“I think probably our strongest part of the club at the moment is the striking department,” said Sir Alex at Friday’s press conference.
“I think Welbeck and Chicharito have been doing really well and Shinji’s been terrific, he’s been settling in well. The combinations we have up front, I think are quite strong.”
Three of the five first-team forwards – Rooney, Welbeck and Hernandez – started against Newcastle United on Wednesday night in the Capital One Cup and Sir Alex says all of his strikers can expect plenty of involvement, having managed a similar embarrassment of riches en route to winning the Treble in 1999.
“It did a lot of good for Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke because they knew that Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted to play. And they did get a lot of football; I was able to change them around several times.”
The Reds’ manager admitted he’s still unsure what his best strike pair could be, especially as his numbers 10 and 20 are still working towards peak form and fitness.
“It’s early doors of course but I don’t know what my best partnership would be because I haven’t seen Rooney and van Persie together.
“Wayne has to play games and get game time now. I think Robin has still got a bit to do as well in terms of game time because he missed the whole of pre-season. In the Liverpool match he was playing against players who had 10 or 12 matches under their belt.”
Rooney could make only his second league start of the season on Saturday, after the forward looked sharp on his return from injury in the midweek cup match.
“He had a great training programme during the time he was off,” assessed Sir Alex.
“He was never out of the gym to begin with because obviously running was out of the question. But in the last two weeks he’s been gradually getting to the football part.”