x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Wayne Rooney pushes Robin van Persie's claim for PFA award

Manchester United forward expects Arsenal man to win top prize as he looks forward to today's match with Everton at Old Trafford.

Wayne Roone, who has netted 22 league goals this season, requires one more goal for Manchester United to move level with George Best and Dennis Viollet as the club's joint-fourth record goalscorer.
Wayne Roone, who has netted 22 league goals this season, requires one more goal for Manchester United to move level with George Best and Dennis Viollet as the club's joint-fourth record goalscorer.

Wayne Rooney has no doubts Robin van Persie will scoop the PFA Players' Player of the Year award today.

The Manchester United striker is one of six nominees for the prize, which he won in 2010.

With United top of the Premier League and Rooney closing on his best scoring tally, the 26 year old, who has 22 goals this season, would be an obvious recipient.

He does not believe it will happen though.

"It is nice to be nominated," Rooney told MUTV. "Obviously it's a great award to win, and it's your work throughout the season that gets you into that position. But more than likely, Van Persie will win it."

In fact, Rooney is not a certainty for United's own club prize this term. He was deeply critical of himself despite scoring twice in last weekend's win over Aston Villa.

"I have always said I don't just play football to score goals," he said. "I like to enjoy the games and play well. Coming off the pitch on Sunday I felt it wasn't my best performance and watching the game back it wasn't. I am quite critical of myself. That is one of the things that keeps me going."

Yet Rooney only requires one more goal to join George Best and Dennis Viollet as the joint-fourth highest scorer in United's history, only 71 behind Sir Bobby Charlton's club record figure of 249.

"I am happy with my tally," he said. "It is a great feeling to score goals and hopefully there will be a few more before the end."

United entertain Rooney's former club Everton today knowing victory will put them one win away from retaining the title no matter how Manchester City fare at Wolverhampton Wanderers later in the day.

Two months ago, such a situation seemed unlikely, but United's superb run of results coincided with a dip in form for their rivals, leaving a record 20th title within touching distance.

"I would have taken this position," Rooney said.

"We had to keep fighting to stay in touch. To be five points clear now is a great situation to be in. But we have to do our job right from now until the end of the season."

Everton have lost only twice in 13 league games and are seventh in the table.

David Moyes, the manager, said: "I've said if Everton finish in the top 10 I think it will be a great position for the season and how it has been.

"It shows you where expectations have gone to at Everton. We are expecting cup finals and finishing around seventh regularly."

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