Rooney backed to overtake Charlton
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has tipped Wayne Rooney to eclipse Sir Bobby Charlton as the club's all-time record scorer.
After having doubts over the Red Devils' future dispelled by Ferguson last term, and then signing a new five-year contract, Rooney has been a much more settled figure. The 25-year-old is presently ninth on the list, with 156 - 93 behind Charlton, who amassed an impressive 247 before his 17-year stint with the club ended in 1973.
Ferguson can see no reason why the gap cannot be bridged and he told Inside United: "I do (think he can eclipse that feat). He is only 25 years of age, so you'd think he has at least another five years in him at the very top level. And if he looks after himself like Ryan Giggs has done, he could play well into his 30s."
He added: "The opportunity is there and time is on his side. He's raced out of the blocks already this season and I hope he could get up to around the 30 mark."
And after the striker departed for England duty in Montenegro this week, Ferguson will certainly be hoping nothing happens to Rooney in Podgorica, when England will look to gain the point required to reach next summer's European Championships.
For straight after the international break come two of the biggest fixtures in United's season; Liverpool away, followed by Manchester City at home.
Previously, Ferguson has cheekily suggested Liverpool were United's true derby rivals. Sheikh Mansour's £1billion investment in City has changed all that, though, with the plethora of stars working under the guidance of Roberto Mancini bringing an extra dimension to the fixture.
"All derbies are big now - that is the nature of the landscape," said Ferguson.
"The impetus City now have - they have a huge squad of players and the financial power to attract some of the best footballers in the world - actually changes the focus of the derby these days.
"The talking point isn't so much the actual game but the dynamics of how Manchester City have changed football and what we do to compete with that."