Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has warned Wayne Rooney will be out to prove “there’s still fight in the old dog” when his Derby side host Manchester United in the FA Cup on Thursday.
Rooney, who scored a record 253 goals for United, will be facing his former side for the third time since ending his 13-year spell at Old Trafford in July 2017.
The last three years have seen Rooney return to boyhood club Everton, enjoy a spell in MLS with DC United and retire from international football.
He is now 34 and playing in the Sky Bet Championship with Derby, but Solskjaer is aware of the threat a player with Rooney’s track record can pose to United.
He said: “He’s a threat in and around the box, set plays. He wants to prove there’s still fight in the old dog.
Man Utd vs Man City
March 8, 2020, 4:00pm
“We’ve got to be on our toes. Don’t give him any space, in and around the box or in midfield. When he plays midfield you can see he’s got Scholesy-like passing range.”
Solskjaer heaped praise on Rooney for his time at United – which saw him win five Premier League titles, the Champions League, the Europa League, the FA Cup and four League Cups – and denied any suggestion his impact at the club is underrated.
“He’s been a fantastic player for Manchester United,” said Solskjaer. “He played here for so long, he’s the club’s top scorer, he’s won so many trophies.
“I don’t think the fans underrate him. I think everyone really, really appreciates what he did for us. He’s still very welcome, he’s still around the place, he comes to Old Trafford.
“He’ll get a good reception from our away fans in that game, definitely. He gave absolutely everything for this club and we all appreciate that.”
Pogba set to miss Manchester derby
Paul Pogba is set to miss Manchester United’s game against Manchester City on Sunday, live on Sky Sports, says Solskjaer.
The French midfielder has played just twice since September – and not at all in 2020 – due to injury.
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