Rooney will want to prove himself, says Solskjaer ahead of cup reunion

‘He wants to prove there is still fight in the old dog’: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer warns his players to be wary of Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney during FA Cup tie with Derby

  • Manchester United face Derby in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Thursday night
  • The cup encounter will see Wayne Rooney go up against his former side
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes the 34-year-old still poses a major threat 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told Manchester United to watch out for Wayne Rooney in Thursday’s FA Cup fifth round clash at Derby, warning: ‘He wants to prove there is still fight in the old dog.’

It will be Rooney’s third game against United since leaving Old Trafford in the summer of 2017, having lost both Premier League fixtures as an Everton player that season.

But Solskjaer believes that his old team-mate will still be a threat even though the Derby player-coach is now 34 – and joked that any goal against United will be taken off his record 253 for the club.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has warned his players to be wary of the threat posed by Wayne Rooney

Rooney represented Manchester United with distinction – winning five league titles at the club

‘He’s a threat in and around the box with set-plays, and in this game Wayne will show what he can do,’ said Solskjaer. 

‘He wants to prove there is still fight in the old dog. We’ve got to be on our toes and don’t give him any space in midfield. He’s got that Scholesy [Paul Scholes] like passing range.

‘Wazza gave absolutely everything for this club. But any goal he scores against us will be chalked off his goals tally!

‘He’s been a fantastic player for Man United and he played here for so long. He’s the club’s top scorer and won so many trophies. I don’t think the fans underrated him, everyone appreciates what he did for us. 

Solskjaer didn’t expect former United team-mate Rooney would go down the coaching route

‘He’s still welcome, he still comes to Old Trafford and will get a good reception from away fans.’

Asked if he could have foreseen Rooney going into coaching, Solskjaer replied: ‘Maybe not. Of course, I left in 2011, so that’s many years ago and he was still young, but I met him a few times and the interest in football, he wants to stay in the game as many of us do.

‘He’s a great, great person, he makes you feel good if you’re 80 or 10. He was my son Noah’s favourite player, not just because what he did as a player but the human being he was in and around the place. 

‘When he becomes a manager he’ll affect his players and he knows the game.’ 


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