Ferguson hails midfielder Rooney

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Old 03-Nov-2011
Harpreet Seehra
Ferguson hails midfielder Rooney

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson praised Wayne Rooney's performance in an unaccustomed central midfield role in the 2-0 Champions League win over Otelul Galati.
Grp C: Man United 2-0 Otelul Galati
The England international played in a withdrawn position in the weekend win over Everton and found himself alongside Anderson for the Group C match because of injuries to Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley while Darren Fletcher is working his way back to fitness.
Rooney responded by dictating from deep as it was his long diagonal pass which started the build-up to Antonio Valencia's eighth-minute goal and he rounded off a laboured team performance with a hugely-deflected goal late one.
"I think he was our best player. He showed great awareness of that role," said Ferguson.
"His selection of passes at times was very good and showed great energy and determination - we got a really good performance out of him tonight [Wednesday].
"We had injuries and that is one of the reasons we played him there.
"Cleverley is injured, Carrick is injured, Darren Fletcher played on Saturday but it was better he played next Saturday.
"It was an option for us and a good option because he has all the qualities you need to be a central midfield player.
"The first thing you have to say about him is that he receives the ball very well.
"He is aided by the fact he plays in a forward role, when receiving the ball is more of an issue but that was an advantage for him tonight [Wednesday].
"I am not surprised the team we were playing against were aggressive in defending so he has to take credit in being able to handle that part."
Rooney, himself, enjoyed the role, saying: "I played there a lot when I was younger and it's something which means you get a lot of the ball and we had to defend at times as well tonight [Wednesday]. The manager asked me to do it and I'm happy to do it.
"I've said before I feel I'm a good enough footballer to play anywhere on the pitch.
"I'm not being big-headed, I feel I am capable of doing that and if the manager wants me to play there, I've no problem doing that."
Victory put United top of Group C from Benfica, who visit Old Trafford next later this month.
It puts the Red Devils in pole position to qualify for the knockout stage.
"We've won the game and it has put us in the position where if we win that we've won the group so that is the incentive for us," added Ferguson.
"Given the history between both clubs (us and Benfica) it should be a good night, a good atmosphere, a really big game and we can look forward to that one.
The only downside was an injury to Michael Owen, who lasted just 10 minutes before limping off.
"It's a blow for the lad. He's done a thigh muscle and it's a complete freak," said the United boss.
"I feel for him. It's difficult to say how long-term it is."
Otelul coach Dorinel Munteanu was disappointed with the final result as he felt his side did well at Old Trafford.
"The way the game went we were hoping for more," he said.
"The players showed courage and even controlled the game at some point.
"They (United) got easy goals and we were punished for small mistakes.
"In the first half United controlled the game but we put up a good effort and in the second half the game changed, we became more confident.
"We had a very good game in the second half but even in defeat I feel positive."

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