Belfast Telegraph

Bank on Rooney to hit the heights again, sdays Manchester United hero Norman Whiteside

By Steven Beacom

Norman Whiteside believes Wayne Rooney will soon be back to his blistering best for Manchester United.

After a month on the sidelines due to an ankle injury and having spent last week in America working on his fitness, Rooney, dreadfully out of form when he has played this season, is in contention to start against Wigan on Saturday in the Premier League.

He certainly needs to produce for Sir Alex Ferguson's side, with many fans still fuming following his stunning declaration that he wanted out of Old Trafford, claiming the club lacked ambition, before changing his mind to sign a ludicrously lucrative new five-year contract.

It's all a far cry from this time last year when Rooney was in devastating form and respected and revered by everyone with a bit of Red Devil in them.

Talk about going from hero to zero.

Whiteside, forever a United favourite, says: “Last season Rooney was on fire, though since then you have had England and him having a poor World Cup and all the stuff in his private life.

“He's had a bad season so far, but I'm waiting for him to score a couple of goals at Old Trafford to get the crowd behind him and for his career to take off again.

“He will get back to his best. He certainly has the ability. You can't be a top class player and lose it overnight.

“He has it in his armoury to bounce back.”

Whiteside admits that he was surprised to see Rooney flying off to Nike headquarters in Portland, Oregon to improve his conditioning.

The former Northern Ireland star stated: “I always thought United had the best facilities so there must have been a reason for Fergie to do that.

“Maybe he went to get away from the publicity, but he's probably had more publicity going there, so if that was the reason it may have backfired. It was a strange one.”

Whiteside added, however, that if any manager can handle the Rooney situation it is Ferguson, who of course shipped big Norman out of Old Trafford to Everton shortly after taking over at United.

Without a hint of bitterness about that decision, Whiteside says: “People ask me what the manager is really like and I tell them he is a gentleman. Fergie talks to the players all the time and is honest with them.

“You know where you stand with him.

“If he says you aren't playing well, you're out, you accept it.

“You can't argue with his results and all the players that he has brought through, so I would stand by Fergie, no question about that.”

Belfast Telegraph


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