Rooney names his favourite Man United strike partner

Matt Stead

Wayne Rooney has named which of his numerous Manchester United strike partners he “preferred”.

Rooney lined up alongside a number of players at Old Trafford in his 13 years at the club.

He spent his first season vying for a place with Ruud van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo, Louis Saha and David Bellion, while final campaign saw him up against Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford in the forward positions.

He always featured with Dimitar Berbatov and Robin van Persie during his stay.

But the former England captain says Carlos Tevez was his favourite partner.

“Ruud was brilliant, probably still the best finisher I’ve played with. He was ruthless, like Harry Kane he just loves scoring. We’d win 4-0 and he’d be miserable if he didn’t score,” he told Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.

“In the second season you could see there were a few issues with Cristiano and one of them had to give and Sir Alex made the right decision in the end.

“At that time Ronaldo was nowhere near the level he is now but Ruud was used to David Beckham and Ryan Giggs getting the ball down and crossing it in but then Ronaldo came in, kept chopping back inside and Ruud grew frustrated. It was probably the right time for him to move on and then we came through as the next generation.

“In terms of goals maybe Ronaldo may have scored more than me but if you’ve got Ronaldo in your team you don’t take away what he is best at and that’s being fresh to go and score a goal. You don’t ask him to chase people down because it will take a  lot away from his game. It took away from me as well but at the time he was more dangerous and I didn’t mind doing that.

“Robin was brilliant, the first season especially. He was one of the, if not the main, reasons we won the league that year. Sir Alex made it clear he was his number one striker. He scored important goals, away at Anfield and Chelsea, the day we won the league he scored a hat-trick. It was a shame we didn’t get him a bit earlier.

“Tevez would be my preferred partner, we suited each others games and we worked off each other. I always remember it must have been horrible for defenders to play against us because we were always in opponents’ faces. People said we couldn’t play together but we hit it off, played well together and I really enjoyed it.”

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