Rooney vows to fill Ronaldo's boots as United star targets 20 goals this season
27 July 2009 11:34
Wayne Rooney is aiming to top the 20-goal mark for Manchester United this season.
With Cristiano Ronaldo now installed at Real Madrid for a world record £80million and Carlos Tevez controversially becoming part of Mark Hughes' expanding squad at Manchester City, more focus will be on Rooney as United look to complete an unprecedented fourth successive league title.
The England star has shown no sign of the pressure affecting him so far even if, despite the encouragement of Chinese supporters, he was unable to get on the mark in an eight-goal romp against Hangzhou Greentown yesterday. And, he admits last year's tally of 20 has given him something to improve on.
'I have always said I would like to score more goals than the previous season so that is what I am aiming for again this time,' he said. 'If I can do that I will be really happy.'
Although plenty of doubts have been expressed about how United will cope without Ronaldo in particular, Rooney is not too concerned.
With the arrival of Michael Owen United have bolstered their attacking ranks, while £17m new-boy Antonio Valencia links up with his new team-mates in Munich today to bring extra pace.
'I am pretty relaxed about things,' said Rooney. 'There are a lot of great players in our team and we know if we all work together then we are capable of achieving great things.'
With the Far East leg of their pre-season campaign over, United now meet more meaningful opposition in the Audi Cup.
Nemanja Vidic will join Valencia as an addition to Sir Alex Ferguson's tour squad but the trip has come too soon for Owen Hargreaves, who will continue his recovery from operations on both knees.
Boca Juniors lie in wait on Wednesday, with either Bayern Munich or AC Milan the opponents 24 hours later in what represents the true test of how much work has been done over the past 10 days.
Ferguson is confident the results will be positive, particular with regard to Owen, whose two goals yesterday took his overall tally to four, suggesting he will be a worthy wearer of United's famed number seven shirt.
'The criteria for the No 7 is quite clear,' said Ferguson. 'It is a jersey that has been worn by some high-profile players so you have to choose someone you are confident can carry that on.
'I am not concerned about what the supporters think - it is important to give it to someone who is confident and comfortable and Michael was a natural choice.'
Providing he stays clear of the injuries that disrupted his time at Newcastle so badly, Ferguson is confident the striker can find the net on a regular basis.
The United manager has already set his new recruit a 15-goal target for his debut season, which Owen should achieve if he stays fit, given the number of chances his team-mates tend to create.
'Owen's overall play is well suited to us,' he said. 'He is very clever in the last third. He knows when to run and when to hold his runs. The experience he gives in that position is vital.
'It's not the acid test but things are looking good with that signing because, given his abilities and understanding of play in the last third, we know he will get goals.'