Fergie compares Rossi’s finishing with Scholes

ALEX FERGUSON has hailed Giuseppe Rossi as the best finisher to come through the Manchester United ranks since Paul Scholes.

Rossi has already netted two senior goals for the Red Devils, including one on his Premiership debut at Sunderland in October.

In addition, the 18-year-old has found the net 14 times in just 13 appearances for United’s reserves this season, a tally boosted by a hat-trick against Manchester City last week.

They are the kind of statistics Scholes used to produce when he was making his way through the Red Devils youth teams a decade ago, at which time he was seen exclusively as a striker.

It was only when Scholes broke through into Ferguson’s first-team squad that his abilities in midfield came to the fore.

And while the United boss does not anticipate Rossi making a similar move, he can see obvious similarities between the American-born Italian youth international and the former England star.

“Without question, Giuseppe is the most natural goalscorer we have had come through the club since Paul Scholes,” said Ferguson.

“He is a wonderful finisher and not dissimilar to Paul in a way.

“When Paul first came to the club he was a centre-forward. Then he started to learn the game and how to drop in behind the striker.

“Probably Giuseppe can play straight through the middle more than Paul would have done but there is a great similarity in the cool head he has in the box.

“You can’t really teach finishing to that level. We do coaching sessions every day but the natural ones are there for everyone to see.

“Giuseppe is a terrific finisher and that gives him a real chance.”

Rossi’s promise has already justified Ferguson’s decision to lure him to England from Parma a year ago and ensures a vastly more experienced West Brom defence will be fully tested in tonight’s Carling Cup fourth round tie.

It is only two years since the Baggies knocked United out of the competition at exactly the same stage, an exit which came either side of two extended runs in the tournament.

A losing final appearance to Liverpool in 2003 was followed by a charge to the last four 12 months ago, when Chelsea ended United’s interest thanks to a late Damien Duff effort.

While Ferguson’s critics argue the extra emphasis now being placed on the secondary domestic competition is mainly due to the Red Devils lack of success on the Premiership and Champions League fronts, the Scot feels it has much more to do with a revised format which sees England’s European contenders enter at the third round.

The Baggies were last successful at Old Trafford in 1978 and if Ferguson’s young charges can keep that record intact on a night sure to be emotional as the Red Devils pay tribute to George Best, a berth in the quarter-finals will be theirs.

Although Rossi will be accompanied by plenty of other relatively inexperienced players in Gerard Pique, Adam Eckersley, Richie Jones and Phil Bardsley, who is given another chance to shine after impressing in 12 senior appearances already this term, there will be plenty of older heads on view too.

Gary Neville and Louis Saha are both set to start for the first time since their recovery from groin and knee injuries respectively.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been earmarked for a place on the bench in case things start to go wrong, while Park Ji-Sung and Kieran Richardson will inject international class into the United midfield.

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