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Rooney and Fabregas lead race for prizes
Published : 30 Jan 2010 13:18:24
Wayne Rooney and Cesc Fabregas are favourites to contest this season's PFA and Football Writers' awards. The pair go head-to-head tomorrow at the Emirates and, while United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has saluted his striker's recent form, he now wants the brilliant England hitman to sustain it. "Players hit consistency to a level you hope goes on for a long time," said Sir Alex. "Wayne is in great form. It doesn't surprise me. He has always had that capability. He has showed it in periods every season and hopefully this lasts." Rooney's current scoring run of 12 goals in his last 13 starts is his best blitz for the Reds and was topped off by rubber-stamping United's Carling Cup Wembley ticket against high-flying City. "He has the strength and energy and courage to run in between players and beyond players and hold players off," added Fergie. "All the great strikers have needed courage. It is the one great component of theirs they must have and he has got that courage to play against modern-day defenders. "He has always had stamina. His tests are always at the top. He is blessed in that respect. He wouldn't be far away from the best in the club. "Rooney and Fabregas are two of the best. There are periods when players hit great form. Wayne has hit that great form now. "I don't think he was playing as well as that a few months ago. His form has increased. Wednesday was an indication of his improvement. In the last few weeks he has come on great. "Fabregas has always been the important player for Arsenal over the last few years. They are two of the best players in the league but it is a league full of great players." Rooney is enjoying a tremendous season with United, having netted 21 goals in all competitions this term as he spearheads the attack without Cristiano Ronaldo. But Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger agrees that United are far from a one-man team. "I do not think they are over-reliant on Rooney," the Frenchman said. "They changed their system a little bit the other night against Manchester City and did not play with two strikers. "They played with only Rooney up front and then of course he becomes the focal point of the game, but they have plenty of players. "For example, in the game on Wednesday night, Ryan Giggs was just as influential. "Rooney was at the end of things, but Giggs created a lot in the game." Veteran Sol Campbell could be in line for a first appearance at Emirates Stadium after rejoining the club as centre-back Thomas Vermaelen is doubtful with a knee problem picked up in midweek. United are missing Rio Ferdinand as the England defender starts a four-match ban. With Croatia striker Eduardo out because of a hamstring injury, Wenger is toying with the idea of having target man Nicklas Bendtner, fit again after groin surgery, lead the attack. "To start Bendtner is going through my mind, but he has only had one training session and 20 minutes of action in three months," Wenger said.