Ferguson believes Rooney is ready for lift-off

MANCHESTER UNITED manager Alex Ferguson wants Wayne Rooney to regain the consistency that saw him score 34 goals last season.

While the England striker’s work-rate has not been in question this season, he has struggled to regularly find the target.

However, a brace in the victory against Aston Villa on Tuesday, only his fourth and fifth goals of the campaign, suggest he could be ready to kick on.

That could spell bad news for bottom club Wolves who face the unbeaten Barclays Premier League leaders at Molineux this evening.

Ferguson said: “Hopefully — and there’s every chance with scoring the kind of goals he scored the other night — he’ll take off.

“Goalscorers are like that and hopefully that’s what we’re going to see with Wayne. He’s got 14 league games, European games and FA Cup games — he could easily get a good average.

“Last season he was very consistent — in previous years he has scored in clutches of five or six games. But if he can get the consistency of last season then we are going to benefit from that.”

United are looking to stretch their unbeaten run to 30 league games stretching back to last season — a club record — but according to Darren Fletcher regaining the title is the detail that counts.

“It has been a roller coaster. There have been times when we’ve thought it (the run) was gone and then we’ve come back late in games,” said the Scotland midfielder.

“But the most important thing — the thing all the players are focused on and bothered about — is winning the league. We’d rather have that than maintaining an unbeaten run.”

Ferguson, meanwhile, has revealed that retiring defender Gary Neville spent part of his career trying to barter better deals for Manchester United’s rising young stars.

And that is one of the reasons why he feels the former England right-back would be ideally suited to coaching the next generation now he has called time on his playing career.

Ferguson said: “Gary has been a terrific example to all the young players here. At times he has helped these young players with their contracts.

“Time and again he has been prepared to fight their corner and make sure they get the right deal. I don’t know how many times that door has been opened and I’ve said, ‘What now, Gary, I have already spoken to you about the boy’s contract?’.

“‘No,’ he has replied, ‘I think you can do better’. But that’s him looking after the young players and they all owe him a debt.’’

Meanwhile, Wolves manager Mick McCarthy has said Ronald Zubar will start against United today, despite committing an horrendous injury-time error that cost his team the match at Bolton in midweek.

Zubar tried to play the ball back to goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey in the 93rd minute, but the pass was intercepted by Daniel Sturridge, who coolly slid the ball into the net.

The goal left McCarthy furious, especially as his team had deserved a point for their overall display.

However, McCarthy confirmed that Zubar has responded well in training, and will not pay for his mistake by losing his place in the starting 11, even if the idea did cross the former Ireland manager’s mind

“I did have thoughts about it,” he said.

“I had a conversation with him today, but he’s been terrific for us. He is okay, I’m certain he is having chatted to him. I’ve got to support him, that’s the other side of it.

“I wanted to kill him on Wednesday night, but he’s one of my players and he puts in a shift.”

Picture: Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov and manager Alex Ferguson (right) with the Barclays Player of the Month and Barclays Manager of the Month awards for January 2011.

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