Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted Wayne Rooney's willingness to play out of position resulted in him not being used properly last season.
Rooney took his outstanding domestic performances onto the European stage on Tuesday with his brilliant two-goal performance against AC Milan in the San Siro. It is perhaps no surprise Rooney is blossoming in his preferred attacking role following Cristiano Ronaldo's exit for Real Madrid last summer.
"We probably didn't use him properly last season," Ferguson told US-based radio station Sirius. "We probably exploited his eagerness and enthusiasm to play anywhere. But we know his strengths, we know where he's best and that's where we're using him this season."
Such are the high standards now being constantly achieved by the 24-year-old that many pundits are claiming he deserves to be ranked alongside Kaka, Lionel Messi and former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, who are widely acknowledged to be the best three players on the planet.
Ahead of the Milan game Ferguson gave the impression of being uncomfortable with all the high praise being heaped on Rooney this season when he argued the former Everton star was being afforded 'God-like' status.
Yet even he has to agree Rooney is something special.
"We talk about world-class players and I think that's a misused quote a lot of the time but, when you see his performances of late, you know you're talking about a really world-class player," said Ferguson.
"I always said to him that to be a world-class forward you need to have a really consistent goal performance.
"He is now on 25 goals and there are still 14 or 15 matches to go, maybe more depending on how we do in Europe.
"So it does put him in the frame of not just being a great player but also a great goal-scorer."
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