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Premier League

Let Wayne Rooney move on pleads Nemanja Vidic

Nemanja Vidic wants the past to be forgotten and Wayne Rooney left alone to get back to what he loves best - scoring goals for Manchester United.

After a turbulent few months, Rooney made his first start since recovering from an ankle injury at Rangers on Wednesday, scoring the late penalty that sent United into the Champions League knockout phase with a game to spare.

The 25-year-old then apologised for the manner in which his contract negotiations were carried out, before finally declaring he never had any intention of joining Manchester City.

Vidic is not about to get drawn into the details of Rooney's conduct. As United skipper, all he cares about is winning matches, starting with Blackburn's visit to Old Trafford tomorrow.

Now the rows and wrangles are at an end, he feels Rooney should be allowed to concentrate on reaching the form he showed last term before injuries affected his performances.

"We have to forget what happened in the past," said Vidic.

"It is great news he has signed a new contract and will be part of Manchester United for the next few years.

"He showed on Wednesday that he is hungry to play for this club.

"He is hungry to score goals and had a few opportunities.

"It was important for his confidence that he got the penalty. He can build from that and the aim for him now is to achieve last season's form."

Rooney feels he is fitter than he would normally be after an extended period on the sidelines, largely due to that week he spent in the United States.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson clearly has no intention of easing his star striker back into the fray and after a substitute appearance in last week's win over Wigan, Rooney is pencilled in to start against Sam Allardyce's men.

"Playing is the name of the game for him now," Ferguson told Key 103.

"He was very rusty on Wednesday. But when he took his penalty kick, he came to life. He played really well in that last few minutes and hopefully that is a step forward for him."

Suddenly, Ferguson has a growing collection of strikers at his disposal, with Dimitar Berbatov, in-form Javier Hernandez, Federico Macheda and Gabriel Obertan all hoping to play a part.

The situation is significantly less cluttered in central midfield as Darren Fletcher has been ruled out of tomorrow's game with an ankle injury, whilst Paul Scholes is a major doubt after suffering a groin strain at Ibrox.

Nevertheless, the Red Devils will still be strong favourites to come out on top and leapfrog Chelsea at the Premier League summit, which even Vidic accepts would be a surprise given United have drawn seven of their 14 matches so far.

"I am surprised at where we are," he said.

"When we started, if someone had told us we would have this many points at this stage of the season we would have been disappointed.

"But actually we are not in a bad position.

"We saw last year teams are better and are competing more against the top four or five. And this season the top five have all lost so many points.

"It puts us in a higher position than we might have thought, the same as Chelsea.

"But there is still a long way to go. This is definitely the time to play the best football we can and to make sure we win the next few games."

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard is finalising his move to United from Norwegian club Aalesunds.

The 26-year-old has agreed personal terms and was due to have his medical today before agreeing to join in January.

Former United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel has questioned whether his fellow Dane is of the quality United would require as back-up to Edwin van der Sar, although Ferguson does not seem unduly concerned about the comments and feels Lindegaard can learn from the presence of his veteran Dutch goalkeeper.