Rio Ferdinand has told ESPN that Wayne Rooney still has a “massive part to play” at Manchester United — like Ryan Giggs did at the end of his Red Devils career.
Former United defender Ferdinand was a teammate of Rooney’s for 10 years at Old Trafford, playing alongside him from 2004 to 2014, including in the Champions League final win in 2008.
Speaking to his former West Ham teammate and ESPN pundit Shaka Hislop, Ferdinand said: “I still think he has a massive part to play. He sets up goals, he creates chances.
“If everybody is expecting to see the young 19 or 20-year-old, fresh-faced Wayne Rooney — a jet-heeled player running up and down the pitch for the full 90 minutes — you are going to be mistaken. You’re not going to find that guy. He’s a different player at a different time in his career.
“He has different attributes which are going to jump out at you more — his ability to pass the ball, find people in space and then when chances do come his way, he can dispatch them too. His goal record suggests that. So you’ve got to look for different things in Wayne Rooney nowadays. There’s a role for him to play in that team.”
Giggs made a club-record 963 appearances during a 23-year playing career with United’s first team, but modified his role towards the end of that period.
Ferdinand said: “Ryan Giggs for the last eight or 10 seasons was more of a squad player. He was someone who came on and impacted the team at different moments.
“He’d start maybe more games after Christmas but, before then, he’d come on and he’d have a role to play in games, in either changing a game with a pass or just coming on and retaining possession and seeing games out. There is a place for Wayne Rooney in the Man United team to do that.”