Emile Heskey believes Wayne Rooney is not that far off being able to call himself the world's best.
Lionel Messi is tipped to shade Cristiano Ronaldo for that tag this year but after a stellar season with Manchester United and England, Heskey added his weight to the argument suggesting Rooney is up there with the very best.
"Rooney's not far behind the likes of Messi and Ronaldo," he said.
"At any given time, players like that can pull something out of the hat that can make a goal. Wayne's not far away from that."
Although the 23-year-old has not complained himself, there are those who feel Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to use him in a wider role at United has taken the edge off his game.
Heskey takes a different view, feeling the trust Ferguson has in the former Everton star emphasises his quality.
"Wayne might not like playing in different positions but he has the ability to do it. That shows how good a footballer he is," he said.
"He is different to the other strikers I have played with.
"He doesn't play directly up front. He drops off and mixes it around. He is a great player. A lot has been said about him. Now he is living up to it."
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