England boss Fabio Capello has pointed to the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United to explain Wayne Rooney's explosive form this season.
Rooney's goals against West Ham this week, his 26th and 27th of the season, means he has only 15 fewer than Ronaldo's tally in the 2007-08 campaign when the Portugal winger established himself as one of the world's finest matchwinners.
"Wayne is an extraordinary player, he is talented and willing to learn," Capello said.
"Ferguson has taught him so much while I've only had to polish him. I have told him that he must make sure he plays inside the box and he must continue to score goals.
"The departure of Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United has given Rooney more responsibility and he is now integral to their plans."
Capello will be praying Rooney stays fit for the World Cup in South Africa this summer, when he will be looking to match the impact of the likes of Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Kaka.
"He (Rooney) is a great player and a great professional," said Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz, who has worked with Rooney and Ronaldo together as United assistant boss.
Heading into the World Cup with Portugal, Queiroz is naturally hoping for Ronaldo will establish himself in South Africa as the best on the global stage.
"I hope Ronaldo is still playing and winning games as the best player in the world," Queiroz said. "If he can do that he can help Portugal a lot."
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