Derby’s Wayne Rooney with a point to prove to Man Utd in FA Cup says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United great Wayne Rooney will be determined to prove there’s life in the old dog in Thursday’s FA Cup clash with Derby.
United and England’s all-time top scorer will line up against the club he enjoyed so much success with when lining up for the Rams at Pride Park.
Rooney – a fifth-round scorer when Manchester United beat Preston 3-1 at Deepdale in the cup in 2015 – joined the Championship side as player-coach after a stint in the United States with DC United.
And former team-mate Solskjaer is wary of the 34-year-old’s threat in Thursday’s fifth-round clash.
“He gave absolutely everything for this club and we all appreciate that,” Solskjaer said. “But any goal he scores against us will be chalked off his goal tally! He doesn’t want to score too many of them.
“He’s a threat – in and around the box, set-plays – and of course this game Wayne will show what he can do and he wants to prove that there’s still fight in an old dog.
“We’ve got to be on our toes, don’t give him any space in and around the box or in midfield. At the latter end when he played in midfielder, you can see he’s got Scholesy-like passing range.”
Asked if he is underappreciated in some quarters, the United boss said: “He’s been a fantastic player for Man United and he played here for so long, he’s the club’s top scorer, he’s won so many trophies.
“For me, I don’t think the fans underrated him. I think everyone really, really appreciates what he did for us.
“He’s still very welcome, he’s still around the place, he still comes to Old Trafford. He will get a good reception from our away fans in that game definitely.”
United are set to be without Daniel James again due to a knock, while Solskjaer says Aaron Wan-Bissaka is a doubt and will undergo a test on Wednesday.
Marcus Rashford remains out with a back injury and Paul Pogba will miss this match and the weekend clash with rivals Manchester City as the midfielder steps up his return from an ankle issue.
“Paul’s still working with the physios outside,” Solskjaer said. “He won’t be training with the first-team until next week, so then let’s see how long that will take.
“But he’ll need some time to train, to get his call it football fitness back.”