Rooney admits Man City ‘would edge’ his Man Utd double-winning side – ‘Beyond what we did’

Ciaran McCarthy
Wayne Rooney, DC United, April 2023

Wayne Rooney has admitted he believes the current Manchester City side “would edge” the Manchester United side he played in in 2008, as their constant fight “is beyond what we did”.

City have been one of the most dominant sides in English football in recent memory. Indeed, they’ve won the Premier League in four of the last five seasons, and could be about to win it again.

They also won the League Cup four seasons on the spin from 2017/18 to 2020/21, won the FA Cup in 2018/19 – with another opportunity to win it this season – reached the Champions League final in 2020/21, and will be hoping to go further this term.

As such, it’s not difficult to see why they’re being compared to some of the best English sides ever. Their neighbours, Manchester United, went through a similar period of dominance in the 2000s to early 2010s.

One of their most influential assets, Rooney – who won the league and Champions League in 2007/08 – feels that side weren’t at the standard City are at now.

“Could the 2008 Manchester United team have competed with Man City? Head to head, we’d have had a good chance but over a 38-game season they would have had the edge,” he told The Times.

“I think we’d have been similar to Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool, able to beat them in one-off games but usually just a bit behind them in the final league table.”

Rooney feels a certain few United stars would have what it takes to breach this City side, but he seemingly feels not a lot of his United teammates would have made the cut.

“There were players in our team who would have got into this City side. Paul Scholes would have been perfect, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic too,” he added.

“I believe I would have fit into it as well – and I would have loved to play with Kevin De Bruyne and [Erling] Haaland.”

He also feels City will cement themselves as one of the most iconic teams in history if they can win the treble this season.

“If they win the Champions League and the title, much as it pains me, I think you’d have to put City up there with United’s 1999 treble winners as the best Premier League team of all time.

“Our 2008 United team were also a great side but the way City dominate opponents and make it look so easy, so often – while constantly fighting on all fronts – is beyond what we did.

“Of course, City have won nothing yet this season and still have to get over the line so let’s leave the big judgements until they do.

“But my reason for saying that they have the potential to be up there with the greatest is that another Premier League title would be their fifth in six seasons and they have raised the bar for everyone else.

“All United fans, myself included, have to look at what Guardiola’s City are doing and understand the extraordinary level that our club will have to reach to be No.1 again.”

READ MORE: Rooney boldly predicts what ‘on another level’ Man City will do to Real Madrid in CL semis