Ole Gunnar Solskjaer quipped that any goals “old dog” Wayne Rooney scores for Derby County against Manchester United on Thursday will be chalked off his record tally.
Rooney is set to captain Derby against his former club in an FA Cup fifth-round tie at Pride Park.
The former England captain scored a record 253 goals in 559 games for United before returning to Everton in 2017 and joined the Rams as a player-coach in January after a spell in MLS with DC United.
Solskjaer knows his side must be wary of his former team-mate Rooney, who is his son Noah’s favourite player, and joked the 34-year-old should have a good reason to avoid finding the back of the net.
The United manager said: “He gave absolutely everything for this club and we all appreciate what he’s done, but any goal he scores against us will be chalked off his goal tally, so he doesn’t want to score too many.
“Wayne will show what he can do, he wants to prove there is still fight in an old dog. We’ve got to be on our toes, don’t give him any space in and around the box, or in midfield, because you can see his Scholesy-like passing range.”
Ole on @WayneRooney: “He’s been a fantastic player for Manchester United, he’s the club’s top scorer and he’s won so many trophies.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 4, 2020
Solskjaer says a combination of Rooney’s ability and character can ensure he is a successful coach and manager.
“I think he just wants to stay in the game, as many of us do, and he’s a great person, he makes everyone feel good – whether you are 80 or 10,” he added.
“He’s even my Noah’s favourite player, not just because what he did as a player, but the kind of human being he was in and around the place.
“I’m sure when he becomes a manager he’ll effect his players. When he’s coaching, he’s so enthusiastic about the game and he knows the game.”
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