Sir Alex Ferguson has challenged Wayne Rooney to rediscover his goalscoring form after one of the Manchester United striker's worst starts to a season.

The 27-year-old has found the net just three times in 2012/13, with summer signing Robin van Persie (12 goals) and Javier Hernandez (nine goals) taking much of the limelight.

Rooney has endured a frustrating few months at Old Trafford, after spending time on the sidelines after that nasty gash injury suffered at the end of August, and also going down with a bout of tonsillitis.

When fit, the England international has also tended to play in a deeper-lying midfield role, as Ferguson looks to accommodate Manchester United's wealth of attacking options this year.

"Wayne is going through a period like all strikers do, he is not scoring," said Ferguson.

"He has missed bits of games and been off with tonsillitis, and Wayne is the type of player who can't miss games because of the frame he has got."

Regarding the use of Rooney in the reformed diamond formation, and how it has affected his game, the Scot added: "I am happy with that part of his game.

"If he can contribute to the team's success, fine. But we would rather he scored more obviously."

Since Van Persie's £24million arrival, Rooney has taken more of a backseat, after scoring 35 goals in all competitions for Manchester United last season. But, Ferguson is adamant the Dutchman's presence should not be a disadvantage to his fellow strikers, and instead praised the former Arsenal captain's impact in the first-team.

"Without doubt Robin is an up-front player," he said. "He has experience and now our players are starting to realise how good he is.

"We are getting more aware of the runs he is making and the movement he has up front. Hopefully that understanding gets better."

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