Neville believes Rooney can evolve


Manchester United’s defending legend believes Wayne Rooney has reformed himself following the footsteps of Giggs and Scholes.

Friday marks the tenth anniversary of Rooney’s first goal for Everton and now when he is 26, Neville believes there is more to come from him.

“At the age of 26 you have to think there is more to come,” Neville told BBC. “You can’t get to the age of 26 and think your best years have gone. He has to now challenge himself and that challenge will always exist when you are playing for Manchester United and England.

“At the highest level of football you need to keep reinventing yourself. He has got great examples there of players who have continued to do that in Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, players who have adapted their games.

“Giggs has gone from being a flying out and out winger to somebody who plays off the front, plays inside left and plays in central midfield. Scholes was a goalscoring, off the front, number 10 when he first started playing as a 16-year-old. Now he is a holding midfield player who controls the game.

“You have to adapt. Wayne Rooney is still a centre forward but he will adapt over these next 10 years to continue to become someone who is thought of in that same way as those two players that I have just mentioned.”

Rooney was honoured with the captaincy of the Three Lions against San Marino.

Neville had played with Rooney for seven seasons before he retired in 2011. He is now coaching England alongside Roy Hodgson.

“He is a wonderful player. Wayne Rooney is best when he is like the street kid, the kid who just fights for every ball, loves playing football and wants to take every free kick, every throw-in, tackles, heads and fights with a passion to win.

“We need to see Wayne Rooney improve and Wayne Rooney needs to see himself improve. In the last few weeks, coming back from that injury, I have seen a lean, fit, hungry Wayne Rooney. He looks like he is up for the next challenge in his career.

“He has got people like Robin van Persie, Shinji Kagawa, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck and other huge challenges around him just to retain his position at United but he looks like he is really up for it.”