Rooney goals will come insists Fletcher

Darren Fletcher has no fears for Wayne Rooney this season.

Manchester United's star striker has been at the centre of huge turmoil in his personal life just as he was emerging from a slump in his professional one.

A long-awaited goal against West Ham immediately before the international break, then two eye-catching displays for England either side of damaging tabloid allegations, signalled a return to the form that saw him score 34 times for the Red Devils last season.

But Sir Alex Ferguson broke the momentum when he left Rooney out of the weekend trip to Everton to save him from the abuse expected to rain down from the Goodison Park stands and last night, against a Rangers side committed solely to defence, he barely had a sight of goal.

With a visit from old rivals Liverpool looming on Sunday, there are worries over Rooney's form.

Fletcher feels such concerns are groundless.

"There is nothing to worry about with Wayne," said Fletcher.

"Wayne is a top player and the goals will come because he has so much quality.

"It is up to us create the chances for him and give him the opportunities to score.

"Maybe we have not done that lately. Against Rangers we didn't create anything for him.

"He will be frustrated with that but it will come."

United could do with Rooney fully focused and ready to cause some havoc, especially at a time when Ferguson is having to cope with the loss of a key man.

The exact state of Antonio Valencia's ankle will not be revealed until later in the week but the Ecuador star is facing a length spell on the sidelines after injuring himself so badly last night.

In his own quiet way, Valencia's influence grew during his first season at Old Trafford.

Only his prowess in front of goal needed to improve for him to become a major component of Ferguson's squad.

Now he must come to terms with an injury that will cast a dark cloud over his entire career, as it did when Alan Smith suffered a similar problem in 2006.

Arguably Smith has not been the same player since. But, as he came to terms with watching Valencia being carried off on a stretcher wearing an oxygen mask to ease the pain, the gruesome sight so bad Sky TV did not replay the incident itself, Fletcher is holding out more hope for the former Wigan man.

"It looked really bad," he said.

"Hopefully the scans show it is not as bad as we fear.

"After arriving from Wigan he had a great first season and was looking to push on this year. That is why the injury is a real blow.

"He has only just got back from the injury he suffered at the end of last season too.

"He is a strong character and a good lad. He has real determination and works hard. He will be back I am sure.

"He will have a long future at Manchester United."

In terms of orthodox wide-men, Ferguson does not have a huge number of options.

Nani's presence is now vital as, at nearly 37, Ryan Giggs cannot be expected to make an impact in 60 games a season, while Gabriel Obertan remains an enigmatic presence in Ferguson's squad.

It is not a problem United wanted at any stage of the campaign.

Right at the present time, on the back of three draws in four games - the ones at Fulham and Everton - from seemingly impregnable positions, it is particularly bad news.

Ferguson now has some big calls to make, with Fletcher rejecting the theory last night's failure could be blamed on his manager's surprising decision to make 10 changes.

"We have a big squad and everyone has a lot of ability," said the Scotland star, the only player to retain his place from Goodison Park.

"It is difficult for the players coming in because they don't have that match sharpness.

"But training is intense and everyone is good enough to play in this team. The manager felt things needed freshening up and the team was good enough to win the match. I agree.

"What happened last night was that we came up against a team with five defenders and three centre-halves.

"Usually when you are up against teams who get men behind the ball, they have the extra man in midfield. It proved difficult to break down."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower