Old Trafford ace compared with legends of the game.
Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney has been lavished with praise ahead of his team’s UEFA Champions League meeting with SL Benfica tonight – by both the opposition manager and his own.
“Rooney is the best British player so far,” said Benfica coach Jorge Jesus.
“But he plays like an Argentinian or Brazilian. He can decide a match in the last third of the field. We will have to pay great attention to him tomorrow.”
Upon being told Jesus’ words, Sir Alex Ferguson responded even more effusively.
“Look at Pele,” said Ferguson. “He was a very aggressive attacker as well who could look after himself. So can Rooney. There are similarities that way in strength, speed and determination.
“But he is white, completely white,” concluded Ferguson, referencing the nickname bestowed upon Rooney by Everton fans when he was at the club.
Despite the Manchester United manager likening Rooney to the brilliant Brazil star, he also feels the England striker has attributes that are closer to his true heritage.
“Wayne is a typical British player. But there have been British players who have great qualities that made them great players.
“[Paul] Gascoigne, George Best, Bobby Charlton and Denis Law.
“The similarities are that the boy has great courage. He wants to play all the time. He has incredible stamina. These are added extras to the talent he has.”