Rooney key for England - Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson has branded Wayne Rooney England's great white World Cup hope.
Ferguson fell out with Rooney during his final season at Manchester United and it seems certain had the Scot remained as manager there would have been an acrimonious split.
As it turned out, David Moyes has been able to talk Rooney round and the striker has responded with an outstanding contribution for club and country.
Yet, as Ferguson knows only too well, the pressure will be much greater when England head off to Brazil next summer.
"He is the white hope for England," said Ferguson.
"The expectation on him now is huge."
So good has Rooney been for United this season, Ferguson claims the pair would never have fallen out last term over the forward's failure to secure a regular starting spot in his favourite position.
"Do you think I would drop Wayne Rooney if he was playing the way he is now?" said Ferguson.
"Absolutely no way.
"That is how we want to see Wayne Rooney.
"At the time Wayne was not playing well enough. That was my judgement."
Ferguson continues to insist Rooney wanted to leave, although the player has denied handing in a transfer request.
Yet the whole saga was made worse for the fact he definitely did slap in a transfer request in 2010 when he questioned the club's ambition.
One of the players Rooney argued Ferguson should be signing was Mesut Ozil, who has guided Arsenal to the top of the Premier League.
As Ferguson explained in his autobiography, it was a subject Rooney had no business getting involved in.
"As I explained to Wayne, leave the signing of players to me," said Ferguson.
"It was none of his business who we should have gone for. His job was to play and perform.
"Ozil was not on our radar. I said that to Wayne at the time."
It was what Ferguson feels was a "sorry episode" for Rooney given within 48 hours he had signed a new contract that made him one of the Premier League's best supported players.
"It portrayed him as a money man who had dropped his grievance the minute his salary was raised," said Ferguson.
"There was a mixed reaction from the players. Some were put out, others were not bothered by him."