Sunday, February 26, 2017

World-class Rooney will take United record, says Jones

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 25 Nov 2016

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Manchester United defender Phil Jones has backed “world-class” Wayne Rooney to make history for the club against West Ham on Sunday.

The club captain became their all-time top scorer in European competition when bagged his 39th continental goal in Thursday’s 4-0 win over Feyenoord at Old Trafford.

Rooney, who also set up Juan Mata’s strike, produced arguably his best performance of the season and went some way towards silencing critics of his form in recent months.

Jones was delighted to see the 31-year-old reach his latest milestone and wants him to find the net against West Ham in order to draw level with Bobby Charlton’s club record of 249 goals.

“I’m buzzing for him,” he said. “He’s a world-class player, has been for many years, and he’s a legend of the club. I’m delighted for him. I hope he scores in the first minute on Sunday!”

Rooney hit out at the media following scrutiny of his form and the publication of pictures showing him partying at a wedding reception in the hours following England’s World Cup qualifying win over Scotland.

Jones, however, says such attention has followed Rooney for years and does not affect him behind the scenes.

“It’s been difficult for him but it’s water off a duck’s back for him, he’s dealt with it throughout his career,” he said. “He’s shown it doesn’t bother him and put in a good performance.”

Another to impress in United’s win was Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who produced a lively display and was substituted to a standing ovation after making only his second start under Mourinho.

“I thought he did well,” was Jones’ assessment. “You can see his technical ability on the ball and he’s got wonderful feet, can see a pass and plays those little one-twos around the corner. He’s a great player for us.

“He’s just been working hard [in training], as every player should do, and he’s done well.”

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