Bolton boss Owen Coyle has jumped to the defence of Wayne Rooney.
The Manchester United striker is struggling for form at present and was substituted with half an hour remaining of yesterday’s 2-2 draw at the Reebok Stadium.
Even he if overcomes a minor ankle niggle to make the flight to Spain for Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Valencia, there are some who wonder whether Michael Owen would be a better choice to partner Dimitar Berbatov given the former Liverpool star scored his third goal in a week to earn the Red Devils a precious point.
Coyle will not be joining in the debate, so sure is the Scot of the immense talent the forward has.
“Wayne Rooney is an absolutely class act,” said Coyle. “I have always felt Manchester United and England as a country are very fortunate to have him.”
The ankle problem might explain why Rooney was so ineffective yesterday, and why he still has not scored a goal in open play for the Red Devils this season.
“Wayne Rooney had a bit of a knock,” said United assistant boss Mike Phelan. “He has a little issue with his ankle. We don’t know how serious. We think he will be okay for Wednesday.
“He has been playing with it for a couple of weeks now and during the game we decided he wasn’t getting into the areas we wanted and he wasn’t getting chances, so we had to change it.”
One man who apparently will miss out on the flight to Spain is Ryan Giggs, with Alex Ferguson confirming the veteran wide man will be out for two weeks after a suffering a slight hamstring strain.
Ferguson also decided to rest Rio Ferdinand in preparation for the Valencia encounter and again saw his side concede sloppy goals.
Twice they went behind, through Zat Knight early in the contest and Martin Petrov in the second half at a time when the Red Devils were looking to take control.
United rallied, however, through Nani and Owen, who was scoring his 200th goal in English domestic club football.
“Scoring goals has always been part of my career, but this one is tinged with a bit of disappointment at not getting three points,” said Owen.
“We’re helped with a few nice results on Saturday but when you don’t capitalise fully it is disappointing. It is a long season and we will bounce back.”