Ferguson says Rooney to carry Man United attack

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The Independent Football

Alex Ferguson says he expects Wayne Rooney to shoulder much of the responsibility for Manchester United's front line this year following the departure of Carlos Tevez to Manchester City and Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid.

The English Premier League club's manager said today that even though it has signed Michael Owen from Newcastle and Antonio Valencia from Wigan to bolster its attacking options, Rooney will have a pivotal role.

"The expectation on Rooney is always high," Ferguson told a news conference in Malaysia. "It is a natural situation as it is the standard which he has set for himself."

United will begin its preseason Asian tour tomorrow with a friendly against a Malaysian XI in Kuala Lumpur. It scrapped its second planned stop in Indonesia after today's deadly bomb attacks at two Jakarta luxury hotels, including the Ritz-Carlton where the team had been scheduled to stay.

Ferguson brushed off suggestions that United will lack bite for the new Premier League season because of Ronaldo's absence, saying the presence of other forwards such as Dimitar Berbatov and promising youngster Federico Macheda will compensate for the loss.

"We have a squad ... with outstanding football and it is how we use them which is important," Ferguson said.

He was also confident that a few injured players will be back in action by September.

"(Nemanja) Vidic is nursing an ankle injury and it will take him some time although the situation with Owen (Hargreaves) is showing positive signs," Ferguson said.