Sir Alex compares Man United’s Wayne Rooney to PelÃ©
Manchester United manager believes comparisons between his striker and Brazilian legend are warranted
Sir Alex Ferguson has likened Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney to Brazilian legend PelÃ© ahead of the Red Devils’ opening Champions League clash.
The Premier League champions take on Portuguese side Benfica at the EstÃ¡dio da Luz in their Group C opener on Wednesday.
And with an in-form Rooney looking to continue his impressive start to the new season, Ferguson has declared that comparisons between the 25-year-old striker and PelÃ© are warranted.
“If you look at Pele, for instance, he was a very aggressive attacker also who could look after himself – so can Rooney,” he said. “They have similarities that way in terms of strength, speed, determination.”
Rooney has made a flying start to the season, scoring eight goals in five games – including hat-tricks in his last two appearances – and Ferguson believes the forward’s “maturity” has helped him find form so quickly.
“I think Wayne’s a typical British player,” he continued. “But there have been British players over the years who’ve had similar qualities that make them great players, whether it’s Paul Gascoigne, George Best, Bobby Charlton or Denis Law.
“The similarities are that the boy has great courage, he wants to play all the time and he has incredible stamina. These are added extras to the talent he has.
“Wayne has shown great maturity in his game, that’s what happens when you reach your mid-20s. You get more authority in game, your timing becomes better and your understanding becomes better.”
The United manager also believes this season could be Rooney’s most prolific in front of goal. He added: “I’m sure it’s a target for him.
“I don’t think that matters for him at the moment though. I’m sure he doesn’t go out at the start of the season thinking that way.
“But as the season progresses like it did two years ago, when the target was to get over 30, he reached it very quickly and ended the season with 34 goals.
“If that’s the target this season and he gets to that, then I’ll be absolutely delighted because with Chicharito’s [Javier HernÃ¡ndez] ability to score, we could have two goalscorers above 25.”