Alex Ferguson offers his backing to Wayne Rooney

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Backing: Rooney and Ferguson
Backing: Rooney and Ferguson

Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has backed Wayne Rooney to bounce back to form and go on a scoring run as he prepares to make his return to action this weekend.

Rooney missed both of England's Euro 2016 qualifiers in recent days as he nursed an ankle injury picked up during United's 3-0 defeat at Arsenal in the last round of Premier League games.

The United skipper is expected to return to action against his former club Everton on Saturday, despite suggestions from some United fans that Rooney is no longer worthy of a regular star in Louis van Gaal's side.

Ferguson has been reluctant to offer too many words in public on the subject of Rooney after he claimed the striker asked for a transfer in the days before he quit as United boss in the summer of 2013, but he has told ESPNFC that the striker he signed back in 2004 will come good.

"He go on a run, don't worry about that," said Ferguson of Rooney.

"All the strikers I had, everyone relied on their confidence. When they were scoring they think they can never stop, when they're not scoring they think they're never going get a goal, it's a fact.

"When I was a striker I was the same; my dad used to say make sure you hit the ball, don't try and pass it in the net. Eric Cantona had it, (Ruud) van Nistelrooy had it, (Andy) Cole had it and then the rich stream comes along again and they're back to normal. I think we'll have to wait, it'll happen."

Ferguson went on to suggest United have a chance to win the Premier League title this season, though he suggests Van Gaal's team may need time to gel after a lot of changes in team personnel over the last year.

"It's that kind of league, anyone can win it now. If we get to New Year up near the top, we'll have a good chance," added Ferguson.

"(Van Gaal has) certainly made a lot of changes and he's bought (six) new players this year and, I think, five or six new players the year before. That takes time and it's not easy.

"Coming to Manchester United, you do need time. In my time, there was maybe Dwight Yorke who gave an immediate response, he was fantastic from day one.

"They are not always like that; he was an exception. It normally takes some time, particularly if they come from abroad, to settle in."