Will Man United striker outscore his Portuguese team-mate next season?

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Providing Cristiano Ronaldo stays fit and also stays at Old Trafford (!), it entirely possible that he’ll smash through the 40-goal mark once again. The Portuguese forward will no doubt be heavily marked by opposition defenders, yet it doesn’t seem to stop him most of the time, thanks to his twinkle toes and eye for goal. While the United number seven was getting all the plaudits last season, one his striking team-mates was playing in the shadows to an extent.

Wayne Rooney managed 20 goals for club and country last season, yet it was quite a modest total when you take into account how many matches he played. Indeed, the 22-year-old has seemingly gone backwards since arriving at the club, although The Guardian report that manager Sir Alex Ferguson will take the rap for that. It appears as though Roons has been the sacrificial lamb for United, often coming deep or playing out wide for the Red Devils rather than in a central striking role.

“I think Wayne’s best position is through the middle, either the front role or tucking in just behind,” Ferguson said. “He is aggressive, has good pace and the courage to go in the box. There’s no reason why he can’t get a good supply of goals. But he may have benefited by having someone with more experience with him. That always happens with young strikers.

“We have to define Wayne’s role better,” he conceded. “He has never complained, which says a lot for the lad. He would play centre-half if I asked him to.”

While it would be entertaining to see Rooney employed in the centre of defence for Manchester United, it will also be interesting to watch him in an advanced role for the Red Devils. Does he have the ability to outscore Cristiano Ronaldo next season? Could he finish up as the top goalscorer in the Premier League? Time will tell, although United and England fans would like to see him as far forward as possible.

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