David Moyes has claimed that Wayne Rooney should set himself a target of around 30 goals per season and that he believes Rooney and Robin Van Persie could develop into a fearsome partnership, now that the England striker is seemingly on his way to redemption, after agitating for a move away from the club throughout the summer.
Rooney, who made an unexpected return to action against Crystal Palace on Saturday, opened his account against the South Londoners on the weekend with a brilliant free-kick and provided two assists in United’s first league game of the season away at Swansea, a respectable start to the campaign.
David Moyes believes that Rooney’s first goal of the season was another stepping stone in the England striker return.
“I think that is right ,” the United manager said. “It has been so stop-start through pre-season to get him to this situation. I think that for him it was a big moment. It was a great free-kick as well. The ability to get the ball up and down over the wall quickly was good.”
The last seven months have been particularly turbulent for Rooney, who found himself dropped against Real Madrid last season and often played in a deeper role rather than up-front by Sir Alex Ferguson who then claimed the United striker had submitted a transfer request.
David Moyes, however, was eager to stress that he will not deploy Rooney as an attacking midfield and that the 27-year-old should aim to reach 30 goals during the season after scoring only 16 goals last term, a meagre return by Rooney’s standards but one arguably influenced by Fergie’s decision to play Rooney out of position.
“I will try to do that [play Rooney up-front],” said Moyes.
“I think Wayne’s aim will be to do that as well. Hopefully we can make that happen.
“I can only see Wayne playing up top and playing as a forward for us,” continued the United manager. “He has scored a lot of goals. It was down last year. But to be successful you need to have people who can score you 20 goals. I am hoping with Robin and Wayne you have two there who you would say they have it in them to do that. It was also good for us that Robin scored. A good start.”
Having retained Rooney’s services, the United manager believes him and Robin Van Persie have all the potential to develop into the most feared attacking pair in the league.
“The hope is that we get a partnership where folk are saying, ‘My goodness we are having to play against Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney’. Everybody is looking to see if those two form a partnership that can score lots of goals. I have to say I have also got Chicharito [Javier Hernández] and Danny Welbeck. Danny has made a great start to the season,” explained Moyes.
The United manager admitted that the fans have played a major part in making Rooney feel welcome at Old Trafford again, despite the way the situation developed in the summer.
“I am sure he has gained confidence,” said Moyes. “He has got himself in a really good physical condition, albeit he lacks match practise because of his stop-start injuries. I think the crowd have given him a great lift and hopefully he can repay them with plenty of goals. He needs a period now to get back to what he does best. I thought in the first half he was excellent but tired in the second. I had spoken to him to try and get 90 minutes under his belt and I thought that would help us in the long run. I could have changed it earlier but I wanted him to get those minutes because he needs it.”
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