Wayne Rooney is like Lionel Messi, says Saints boss

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Wayne Rooney has been compared to Lionel Messi and is on the same level as the Barcelona superstar and his rival Cristiano Ronaldo, that is according to Southampton manager Mauricio Pocehettino.

The Manchester United striker scored the crucial first goal for England in their 2-0 win over Poland on Tuesday that saw them qualify for Brazil 2014.

Pochettino believes the Three Lions just aren't the same without the Old Trafford star and sees his importance to Roy Hodgson's side as that of Messi's to Argentina.

Not only does he feel Rooney is key to England's success, Pochettino believes the the 27-year-old can be put into the same bracket, in terms of talent, with Messi and Ronaldo.

"I think Wayne Rooney for England is very similar to what Lionel Messi is for Argentina," he told reporters.

Talented "It is clear they have different characteristics and skills but they are both very important for their national sides and I'm a big fan of the two of them.

"I honestly rate him as highly as Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi and I have a great admiration for him as a player. I think he is amazingly talented."

Pochettino has also been worthy of praise this season after the performances of his Southampton side so far this season in the Premier League.

The Saints are up to fourth in the Premier League and have conceded only two goals in seven games so far, though that record will be tested by Rooney when they travel to Old Trafford for a meeting with Manchester United in their next league fixture.

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