Giggs backs Rooney to join the elite

Ryan Giggs believes Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney is edging closer to the select group of players currently regarded the best in the world.

The 24-year-old has just completed a memorable week, which began with his first four-goal haul in the victory over Hull.

Rooney then headed home the injury-time goal that secured another Wembley appearance for the Red Devils at the expense of Manchester City in the Carling Cup, before finally finishing off a sensational second goal in United's demolition of title rivals Arsenal at the weekend.

And Giggs believes Rooney's form could soon earn him the kind of recognition currently enjoyed by Lionel Messi, Kaka and former Old Trafford team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, the three men widely acknowledged to be the best on the planet.

"He is getting nearer that group," said the veteran Welshman. "You have seen it for England and for us on the bigger stages. That is what all the top players do.

"The best thing is that Wayne is still developing. He is 24 now but he is only going to get better.

"His appetite is strong and he is a great player to have in your team."

Rooney's talent has never been in question since he first burst onto the scene as a raw teenager with Everton, scoring a memorable winner against Arsenal at Goodison Park in 2003.

He followed that up by becoming one of England's key men at Euro 2004 before moving on to United, where his talent is set to earn him a lucrative new contract this summer.

It is a different quality Giggs notes.

At the level he has operated at for almost two decades, pure ability is almost taken for granted. What Giggs likes about Rooney is his willingness to keep working when events conspire against him.

"Even if he is not playing well he still causes problems for the other team," he said. "That is a very rare quality.

"Even with players who are genuine match-winners, if they are not playing so well, normally you don't see them.

"But if Wayne is not having the best of games, which is not very often, he never gives up.

"He believes he is going to create chances. He believes he will get them and he believes he is going to score goals.

"More often than not, he does."

Chelsea's failure to beat Hull at the KC Stadium last night means United are only two points behind Carlo Ancelotti's men as they chase a record fourth successive championship win.

The dilemma for Ferguson now is when to give Rooney a break.

A meeting with basement boys Portsmouth at Old Trafford on Saturday would appear to be an opportunity, especially as United visit Aston Villa on February 10 in another of those "must-win" games.

Yet Ferguson also knows Rooney's importance to his side is growing, with Giggs chiming in with his manager's assessment that the Merseysider has moved his contribution to a different level now he is concentrating on the core aspects of his job.

"Wayne has taken his game to another level," said Giggs.

"Everyone knows what Wayne is like. He wants to be involved. He wants to set up the play and finish the moves.

"Sometimes you cannot do that but he has learnt to be patient.

"He has developed his game so that now he is a goalscorer as well as joining in with the overall play.

"I know if I am putting the ball in the box, with his movement and bravery, Wayne is going to get on the end of things.

"Wayne has worked hard at that part of his game and he has definitely improved."

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

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before