Southampton coach Mauricio Pochettino believes Wayne Rooney is in the same bracket as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as a player.
The 27-year-old has found his best form again this season and has been Manchester United’s stand out performer in the Premier League.
He has got the hunger back that makes him such an insatiable player when he is in his pomp and ahead of Southampton’s visit tomorrow, Pochettino has hailed Rooney’s all-round ability.
“I was speaking about it with my staff and we were saying he is the type of football player who is able to understand what is needed and what’s required of him at every single phase of the game,” Pochettino said.
“He’s a fantastic player that’s able to play up front, to drop a bit higher in the pitch. He’s a fantastic footballer.
“I honestly rate him as high as Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi. I have a great admiration for how he is as a football player.
“I think he’s an amazingly talented football player and I rate him as high as those two players.”
Rooney has certainly delivered so far this season. His all-round game has returned and on his day, there is no doubt that he is one of the most complete forwards in the world but what he needs to do is avoid having a real dip in form.
What makes Ronaldo and Messi stand head and shoulders above any other player is their startling consistency. If Ronaldo scores three goals, Messi will come out and score four. Their personal competition pushes them to be the best they can every single week and Rooney hasn’t shown that sort of consistency in the past couple of seasons.
But Moyes has got Rooney playing fantastic again. It is a testament to his managerial skills that he has achieved it so quickly. The way Rooney has started this year, it could be his best in a United shirt and he will want to achieve that. What Rooney needs to do is make sure that this rich vein of form continues for as long as possible, if not the whole season.