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Rio Ferdinand says Wayne Rooney gets the praise he deserves - but only in Europe

Rio Ferdinand cannot understand why Wayne Rooney does not get the credit his record-breaking exploits deserve.

Rooney, already England's top goalscorer, finally surpassed Sir Bobby Charlton's Manchester United mark with his 250th goal for the club on Saturday.

Yet the 31-year-old continues to divide opinion about his place in the pantheon of all-time greats in English football.

And Ferdinand, Rooney's team-mate for United and England for 10 years, feels Rooney would be more appreciated in Europe than in his homeland.

He said: "I don't know what it is. I try to put my finger on it all the time.

"He is putting up numbers that nobody has done. He is surpassing records - landmark records that nobody has been near for 40 years. But there's always a 'but'. Why?

"I think he's appreciated more on the continent than he is in this country and that's a shame because a lot of foreign teams would love to have taken him many times.

"They'd see he wasn't just an out-and-out striker, he wasn't just a number 10, he was a combination of both.

"How many in history have we seen really able to do that?

"The Brazilian Ronaldo didn't do that, Marco van Basten didn't do that, and they're the two best number nines in my time watching football."

Rooney is no longer a first-choice pick at Old Trafford under Jose Mourinho, and Ferdinand is not surprised the England captain is showing signs of slowing down.

However, Ferdinand insists there is still plenty more to come from Rooney now he has hit the magic 250.

"He's 31, but he's probably got the mileage of a 36-year-old with what he has done in his career and the velocity he plays at, the scrutiny and the pressure," added the former defender.

"The big thing has been to get through that barrier of 250. That's a lot of pressure. People were always talking about it.

"Getting there might just release a fresher Wayne Rooney. I don't think he is at that point yet where he needs to wind down."

::Rio Ferdinand was speaking at a media event for Star Sixes, a new competitive world football tournament for iconic former international players to be held at The O2, London, from July 13-16.

::Tickets for the first-ever Star Sixes tournament will go on sale on Friday, January 27 at 9am at:www.theo2.co.uk/starsixes Follow: @starsixes

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