Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney has been opening up about his admiration of transfer target Harry Kane.
In his Sunday Times column, Rooney was talking about the art of goalscoring and singled out Kane as the player he would make the focal point of the team if he were manager.
‘Harry is a classic No 9, the closest I’ve seen to Ruud [Van Nistelrooy]. If I were building a team, he’s the one I’d start with. Harry Kane: there’s my No 9. Then I’d build the rest around him’ Rooney said.
‘In the last two seasons we’ve seen him drop deeper more and play balls in behind and he’s very good at it… But if I were managing Harry, I’d be telling him to stay high as that No 9.’
‘His biggest strength is finishing and he strikes the ball so well that from 20 yards or closer he should be looking to hit it whenever possible.’
The 34-year-old also confessed that he never really wanted to be a number nine himself because he wanted to be more involved in the game.
‘I’m going to be honest … I’m not a natural goalscorer.
‘My favourite players to watch were those like Paul Scholes and Xavi and I get more joy out of splitting a defence with a pass than from any goals I’ve scored myself.’
‘Just two of my 13 seasons for United were as the main No 9 and I scored 34 goals in both campaigns. But I never once came off the pitch feeling I’d played well. I remember getting the man-of-the-match award after scoring two headers v AC Milan at home and feeling bad taking it because — in my mind — I hadn’t really been involved in the game.’
‘My first game at No 9 was the famous Keane v Vieira showdown with Arsenal at Highbury…I came off thinking, “I didn’t enjoy that, I don’t want to play there.” Fighting that urge to come back and get on the ball was tough.’
Rooney also confessed that he tried to help former United star Danny Welbeck with his finishing.
‘What you’re looking to do is arrive at it with composure and it’s one of the hardest things to teach. I always remember saying to Danny Welbeck, “Danny, when you go through every time you shoot you’re falling over. Just steady yourself. Slow yourself down.”’
‘The best advice I received was from Fergie. He’d say “you’re working too hard” and at first I thought, “What do you mean? Isn’t that what you want?” But I used to try to run as hard as I could for 90 minutes and in the last ten minutes be tired.
‘The manager wanted his strikers to keep a little bit in the tank, because that match-winning chance might not arrive until the 90th minute — Fergie time!’
Rooney also said that he’d like to see Kane beat his own England goalscoring record and believes he will do so soon. Whether he will also see the 26-year-old one day trying to beat his Man United scoring record of 253 goals remains to be seen.
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