Fergie ponders leaving Rooney out

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Sir Alex Ferguson is considering whether to leave Wayne Rooney out of his Carling Cup final starting line-up.

Rooney has been in explosive form recently, following up his Champions League double against AC Milan with two more goals in the midweek win over West Ham. That took his overall goal tally for the season to 27, just 15 short of the amazing number Cristiano Ronaldo contributed to Manchester United's 2008 Champions League-winning campaign.

However, as he pondered a fixture list which includes a return meeting with Milan at Old Trafford on March 10 and vital Premier League games, Ferguson said: "It has to be a consideration simply because we have important games coming up. The problem is he is desperate to play, he is always desperate to play."

In all probability, Ferguson will avoid the inevitable argument with Rooney by sticking with his main man as United look to add another trophy to their impressive collection, and at the same time create a small piece of club history by retaining a cup competition for the first time.

Yet Ferguson is anxious to avoid Rooney being weighed down by too much expectation.

There may be nothing he can do to prevent others discussing Ronaldo's 42 goals, but he is still sticking to a more recent - and now very conservative - target of 30 for the 24-year-old.

"We have 10 league games after Sunday and hopefully six European ties. That is 17 games in total," said Ferguson. "A goal a game would bring him to 44. There's pressure for you. It is a target and who wouldn't love to get that kind of goal tally.

"It is hard to think he could reach it though. I don't think he has got that kind of target and I certainly haven't.

"He is in a great scoring burst right now. He is popping up in the right places at the right time and his judgment in the penalty box is improving. That is a nice sign.

"But I have said all along if he gets over 30 I will be delighted so let's not be greedy."

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European News
League Cup
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo
Wayne Rooney

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