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Saturday, 27 September 2008

Fergie: "I Would Axe Rooney".

ALEX FERGUSON has told Wayne Rooney he will have to accept being on the bench at times for Manchester United this season.

Since signing for Manchester United four years ago, Rooney has been a certain starter for all their major games, in fact he has averaged 43 games per season since his arrival. However, following the signing of Dimitar Berbatov, boss Fergie has four fit main attackers to call upon for the first time this decade and he will be rotating them for the big clashes to ensure they stay fresh for the full season.

Which means that Rooney will sometimes find himself where he likes it least — on the bench.

Ferguson said: “They all know it has to happen. I understand that some players want to play every week — Eric Cantona was like that — but it cannot happen.
For too long I’ve been operating with two strikers, which is ridiculous for a club of this size. To achieve what we want to achieve we need four strikers of the quality we had in 1999 with Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Solskjaer. Whoever plays will not be down to performance. It will just be about keeping them fresh.

“For example, in 1999 Yorke and Cole had a great partnership so they were always in front. Yet it would be Solskjaer and Sheringham scoring the goals at the right time because I could freshen things up.”

It is clear Rooney’s absence, maybe even from today’s line-up against Bolton, is not a reflection on his play — although he is still to get off the mark this season.

Fergie said: “Maybe Wayne has not been getting a lot of chances at the moment.”

Ferguson reckons Berbatov’s arrival from Tottenham will assist Rooney in that.

He said: “Berbatov will bring good composure, experience and presence. There is no doubt in my mind he will improve us. He is someone who has good decision- making and timing which will improve things for us.”

Elsewhere in the squad, Ryan Giggs continues to be as important to Ferguson as he was 17 years ago when the Welsh winger first became a regular in United’s starting line-up.

Yet Giggs has a new role in the side these days.

Fergie explained: “I see his role now as a central player.

“He is nearly 35 and those days of trampling up and down that touchline are behind him now.

“We have to respect the job he has done over so many years — no one can come near him in terms of his ability in that position.

“He is an incredible human being and a one-off.

“But I need to manage him correctly now and there is no doubt he can have an impact for us as a central player.”

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