Rooney backs Owen to star
Wayne Rooney has backed new Manchester United team-mate Michael Owen to help fill the void left by Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez's departures from Old Trafford. Owen scored the winning goal on his debut against a Malaysian Select XI side on Saturday in the opening match of United's Far East tour. Rooney, who will have more goalscoring responsibility on his shoulders this season, believes Owen can recapture his best form at Old Trafford and silence his critics. "Over the last couple of years Michael has had some criticism but it would have been difficult for any player to score in the Newcastle team he was in last season," said Rooney. "He looked really sharp in training. He is working very hard and you could see by the way all the lads celebrated with him how pleased they were for him when he scored. "This move will give him a new lease of life." Rooney is confident he can compensate for the loss of Ronaldo and Tevez's goals this season by playing more regularly in his preferred central striking role. "We haven't spoken about it but I am sure that is where I'll play," added Rooney. "Everyone knows it's my best position. I enjoy it more than being out on the flanks - it's less work and you get more chances to score. As a forward that's what you want." Rooney also claimed he had no issues with Ronaldo or Tevez leaving United for pastures new. "I have spoken to Cristiano since he left and wished him well," noted Rooney. "He was a great player for Manchester United but it was his wish to go and I think the club have respected that. "Both for the club and Cristiano himself it was a good deal. The money we got for him was unbelievable. "We don't feel let down by him. We always knew he was going to go sometime. "Carlos is a great lad and it was a shame his future never got sorted out and he didn't stay - but that's football. "I'm sure a lot of people will have a lot to say about him joining City but it's one of those things and I don't want to say too much about it."