24 Jan Rooney record holder
Sir Alex Ferguson does not believe anybody will be able to beat Wayne Rooney’s Manchester United scoring record.
The 31-year-old superbly notched his 250th goal for the club on Saturday, bending home an exceptional free-kick to secure a last-gasp 1-1 draw at Stoke and move clear of Sir Bobby Charlton.
The World Cup winner called Rooney a “true great” after breaking a record that has stood since 1973 and the question now is how many more will the United captain get.
The forward is in a period of transition and heightened speculation, but whatever the future holds Ferguson believes his record could well stand the test of time.
“Well, it lasted for 44 years, I think, and when Wayne Rooney joined the club I could never imagine anybody could beat Sir Bobby’s record,” Ferguson told MUTV.
“So his achievement is outstanding. It’s amazing. He’s 200-odd games short of Bobby’s playing record and that makes it even more amazing.
“I don’t think (anyone can overtake Wayne). I couldn’t say never – never say never – but if you look at modern-day football, Manchester United are one of the few clubs who can keep players for over 10 years.
“It is more difficult than ever but we were very lucky if you look at my time, even in Sir Matt Busby’s time, we had players who stayed for more than 10 years. Many, many players did that and Wayne is one of them.
“But, in the modern day, you see it happening less and less that players stay for that length of time.
“For instance, Jose (Mourinho) mentioned young Marcus Rashford and he’s got to score more than 20 goals a season for the next 10 years or so and that is difficult in itself.
“You hope it lasts and he stays here more than 10 years but there are fewer players doing that now.”
Ferguson made Rooney the most expensive teenager of all-time when signing the precocious striker from Everton for around £30million in 2004 – a deal that now looks like a snip.
“The only way you can assess value is the length of time he has been at the club,” the former United boss said.
“I was very lucky in my time to have Roy Keane for 11 years, Steve Bruce for a long period, Peter Schmeichel for years, Dennis Irwin, you know?
“The young ones that came through like Ryan (Giggs), Paul (Scholes) and Gary (Neville) lasted more than 10 years.
“The only way you can really judge value is the length of time you’ve got with them.
“I always remember when we signed Gary Pallister, £2.3million was a record for a centre-back, but, hey, we got nine, 10 years out of Gary and we sold him again for £2.5million.
“So the only way you can judge is that and with the case of Wayne, what we felt at the time was 18-years of age, he had huge potential.
“Hopefully if we have got him for 10 years, £27million is nothing. It is gone like that… the value was there, no question.”