Aleksandar Mitrovic believes those who criticise Wayne Rooney are "crazy", after the Manchester United striker moved within eight goals of breaking the club's all-time scoring record.
The pair shone during Tuesday night's 3-3 draw at St James' Park, with both involved in all three of their side's goals. They each scored a penalty, so it was only fitting that Mitrovic swapped shirts with Rooney at full time.
"They are people who don't watch football," the Serbia international said of Rooney's doubters, as per the Telegraph. "He is a legend, he has scored so many goals. If he doesn't score in a few games, the team don't play well and he cannot play well.
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"I hope maybe one day I can be like Wayne Rooney. You can see on the pitch how easy he moves and how easy he plays, it is amazing. I think he can play ten years more."
The England captain has now scored in three consecutive games for Louis van Gaal's side, reacting well to a difficult December. After a month-long ankle injury, Rooney was left out of Boxing Day's trip to Stoke. It led to more claims that he is past his best and a shadow of what he used to be.
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Tough start on Tyneside
Life has been tough for Mitrovic too. The 21-year-old arrived on Tyneside last summer for £13 million and has suffered from leading the line for a team that struggles to create chances. An early red card against Arsenal didn't help matters, but that same fiery persona is starting to win over the Geordie faithful.
The former Anderlecht man is now on four goals for Newcastle and Tuesday's penalty sparked a passionate celebration that resembled Temuri Ketsbaia's infamous board-bashing antics of 1998.
"I needed that goal, you can see that in my celebration. I was really happy. It is good for my confidence and I hope I will keep scoring," Mitrovic said. "I am getting better each game. It is different football to what I played in Belgium. It is a difficult time and maybe that is behind me."
Down to 19th after Sunderland's win at Swansea, their situation is dire and Steve McClaren's side have been linked with strikers such as Loic Remy, Saido Berahino and Charlie Austin. Mitrovic remains unconcerned.
"I don’t read newspapers. I am here to play,” he said. “I played good in the last few games. I have been unlucky. The goals will come.”
Newcastle entertain West Ham on Saturday, whilst Rooney's Manchester United travel to Anfield to face Liverpool. Do you think Mitrovic can eventually reach Rooney's level? Let us know in the comments section.
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