Stage is set for Wayne Rooney to shine once again

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Manchester United find themselves in a delicate position ahead of their game with Valencia. 

Both sides have qualified and Sir Alex Ferguson knows he needs to avoid defeat to top the group. Many people suggest that it doesn’t matter where you finish in the group because a difficult tie will be waiting in the next round.  

However, I firmly believe that's vital to a team’s chances because it allows you to play the second leg at home in the next round. 

It's a major advantage, particularly for the likes of United, who have fantastic home form in Europe. They'll feel they can overturn any first-leg deficit at Old Trafford - so it's imperative they don't lose this game. 

Normally I would expect Sir Alex to use a few squad players, with the cavalry on the bench if he needs them later on. However, their game was called off last Saturday and they have a six-day break before the next match - Arsenal on Monday - so he might decide to play his best team. 

Of course, anybody with a niggle will not be risked in these freezing conditions, but I think this would be the ideal opportunity for Wayne Rooney to get some more match practice under his belt at the top of a 4-3-3 formation. 

From what we've seen, it looks like his touch and sharpness isn't quite there yet and that will take a few more games. But the important thing is he looks like he's enjoying his football again, which didn't appear to be the case at the start of the season which for all United fans is very good to see. 

United could become the first team to go through the Champions League group stage without conceding a goal, but I think that says as much about the quality of their opposition as it does about them. 

United have looked vulnerable in the Premier League and have only kept six clean sheets in 15 games, but it's no great surprise that teams like Bursaspor and Rangers haven't scored against them in Europe. 

I'm sure Valencia felt unlucky not to find the net when these teams met at the Mestalla and they were aggrieved that Javier Hernandez scored late to give United the victory. 

But how often do we see the words "Manchester United" and "late goal" crop up in the same sentence? It's no surprise when that happens because they've done it so often over the years. 

So yes, Valencia were unlucky and I have been impressed with how well they have coped with the loss of their star players David Villa and David Silva. I expect them to cause problems for United on Tuesday evening. 

But I don't see them causing enough problems to win the game. 

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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