• Premier League

Giggs: Rooney happy to play second fiddle to Van Persie

ESPN staff
December 13, 2012
Wayne Rooney is content to play a supporting role to Robin van Persie © PA Photos

Ryan Giggs insists that Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney's importance to the team is about so much more than goals despite the forward's recent scoring streak.

Rooney went into December with just two Premier League goals to his name courtesy of a brace in the 4-2 win over Stoke back in October, but further doubles in victories at Reading and Manchester City in the past fortnight have brought his tally up to six.

While his fellow striker Robin van Persie has been consistently among the goals - the Dutchman has 11 in the league since moving to Old Trafford in the summer - Rooney has been a creative force for United with seven assists so far.

Giggs highlighted that aspect of Rooney's game, praising his overall influence on the Premier League leaders and drawing comparisons with former United star Cristiano Ronaldo.

"Wayne is the kind of player who can score goals but if someone is scoring more, he's not too bothered," Giggs was quoted as saying in the Sun. "He's quite happy setting goals up and pitching in with important goals like he did on Sunday.

"It's like when Cristiano was here. He scored a lot of goals but, like Wayne, he's not just an out-and-out goalscorer. He's more than that. Wayne is the catalyst to everything good that we do. He can score goals, make goals."

Van Persie scored the winner against City on Sunday at the Etihad Stadium for his 13th strike of the campaign in all competitions, but his excellent start to life at Old Trafford has not surprised Giggs.

"Robin has not surprised me because at 29 I knew he was a ready-made, experienced, world-class player.

"But he just has that bit of class that can make a difference like it did on Sunday. You see it in training, you see it in games, he's just a brilliant player."

Giggs admitted that United have found it hard to motivate themselves for matches that they would be widely expected to win, something which has accounted for them often going behind in matches this season.

"Our best performances have been the games where you don't need motivating," the 39-year-old added. "It can be different at Old Trafford against a team you are supposedly going to win against.

"We found this season it is tough. Teams are getting 10 behind the ball, making it difficult. We've sometimes struggled. But the confidence and the quality we have in the squad at the moment, we should be kicking on now and going on a good run."

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