Thursday, March 22, 2018

No Rooney worries for Fletcher

Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher believes Wayne Rooney will start scoring goals again soon, regardless of the problems in his personal life.

Rooney has been at the centre of a media storm since the News of the World tabloid alleged earlier this month that he had repeatedly frequented a 21-year-old prostitute while wife Coleen was pregnant with their son.

Last weekend United manager Sir Alex Ferguson left England forward Rooney out of the side for the Premier League match away to Everton, the striker’s former club, because of concerns about possible crowd reaction.

However, Rooney returned to action in Tuesday’s goalless Champions League draw against Scottish side Rangers at Old Trafford, United’s home ground.

Despite playing in front of a largely supportive crowd, Rooney was far from his best in the 0-0 stalemate.

Liverpool, United’s arch north-west rivals, visit Old Trafford on Sunday and that has heightened concerns over the form of Rooney, who scored 34 goals for his club last season.

But Fletcher insisted: “There is nothing to worry about with Wayne.

“Wayne is a top player and the goals will come because he has so much quality,” the Scotland international added.

“It is up to us create the chances for him and give him the opportunities to score. Maybe we have not done that lately. Against Rangers we didn’t create anything for him. He will be frustrated with that but it will come.”

However, Antonio Valencia, one of the key creators of goals for Rooney last term, suffered an ankle injury against Rangers that is set to rule the Ecuador winger out for the rest of the season.

“It looked really bad,” said Fletcher of Valencia’s injury.

“Hopefully the scans show it is not as bad as we fear.

“After arriving from Wigan he had a great first season and was looking to push on this year. That is why the injury is a real blow.”

Ferguson made 10 changes to the side that played against Rangers from the one he sent out against Everton at Goodison Park, a decision that was much questioned after the team’s failure to score on Tuesday.

“We have a big squad and everyone has a lot of ability,” said Fletcher, the only player to have retained his place for both matches.

“It is difficult for the players coming in because they don’t have that match sharpness.

“But training is intense and everyone is good enough to play in this team. The manager felt things needed freshening up and the team was good enough to win the match. I agree.

“What happened last night was that we came up against a team with five defenders and three centre-halves.

“Usually when you are up against teams who get men behind the ball, they have the extra man in midfield. It proved difficult to break down.”


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