Belfast Telegraph

The Punter: Wayne’s the head man for Manchester United and England

Goalden boy Wayne Rooney is head and shoulders above any other player in the game.

Named as the England player of the year for the second successive year, his current form is outstanding and his match-winner for Man United in the Carling Cup final is testament to his growing prowess as an |out-and-out striker.

And that header cost Bet365 a tasty packet as they laid 10-1 that he would nod one in.

Rooney started on the bench which would normally rule such bets void on this market as players must start the game for bets to stand. That, of course, is a protection for punters in case a player only comes on for a few minutes.

However, the firm have waived their rule on this occasion and have agreed to settle.

After he had bagged a couple with his head against West Ham, Bet365 really stuck their neck out with that price.

Roo is 4-1 to do likewise at Wolves on Saturday.

Rooney has hit 28 goals this season and 12 in his last nine matches, eight with the head, the latest helping United become the first team since Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest in 1990 to retain the League Cup.

Wayne will now have his eye on beating Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal-scoring record of 42 in 2007-08 in all competitions and is good value at 20-1 with Blue Square to surpass that total.

Bet365 are taking no chances, going only 7-1 and quoting 7-2 that he bags 40 or more goals. It is 1-6 that he doesn’t.

No surprise to see Wayne as short as 1-7 to win the PFA Players’ Player of the Year honour with Cesc Fabregas 11-2 second favourite.

As for the FIFA award, Rooney has been cut from 10-1 to 7-2, third favourite behind Cristiano Ronaldo and last year’s winner Lionel Messi both of whom are quoted at 3-1.

Meanwhile, Chelsea’s defeat at home to Man City and the worrying form of John Terry — it was only a matter of time before the outside pressure began to effect his game — has seen them drift out to 6-4 joint-favourites with Man United for the Premier League title with Arsenal at 3-1.

The wind has turned in United’s favour and those who fancy them also to take the Champions League can have 16-1 the treble.

Go for a reverse forecast on Chelsea and United which pays 1-2 to a unit stake.

Emile Heskey didn’t do much in that Wembley encounter but the Aston Villa man is still 6-4 to partner Rooney in England’s World Cup opener against USA in South Africa.

Bet on Jermaine Defoe at the same price.

Meanwhile, Terry is 100-30 not to start the World Cup such has been his dip in form but that should be avoided as he looks nailed on to be in the team for the opening fixture against the USA.

Bet365: W Rooney to score 40 or more goals this season: 7-2 yes; 1-6 no.

Hill’s Premier League straight forecasts: 2-1 Man U-Chelsea; 9-4 Chelsea-Man U; |11-4 Chelsea-Arsenal; 5-1 Man U-Arsenal; Arsenal-Chelsea; 7-1 Arsenal-Man U.

To finish fourth: 7-4 Man City, Liverpool; |7-2 Tottenham; 4-1 Aston Villa; 20-1 |Everton; 25-1 bar.

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