Date:Monday March 13 2006
Did Fat Fred REALLY try and sign Wayne Rooney 18 months ago? I know it made the headlines of the papers but there were many Toon fans who thought it was a publicity stunt. But, whatever, our loss is certainly Man Utd's gain. Sir Alex Ferguson watched Wayne Rooney deliver his latest striking masterclass, then jokingly told him: 'I would have had a hat-trick'.
Ferguson: 'How Wayne has not ended up with the match ball I do not know. He missed an open goal there. He said his shot hit the defender but I could never imagine myself missing that kind of chance.
'It was a marvellous performance. He doesn't just take chances, he creates opportunities for himself with his marvellous skill and tenacity. That marks him out as a very special player.
'It sounds glib to say we should have had 10 but we have missed some unbelievable chances. It was a fantastic performance but we could have done with the third goal because one for them would have changed the whole picture.
'I did not want to change a winning team. There has been all this stupid talk in the media but the main question I have to answer is 'does Louis deserve to play?' I think he does. His scoring record has been good and he has developed a good combination with Wayne, so I am doing the right thing by him.
'Competition brings more out of players. It is a healthy situation for the football club.'
Newcastle caretaker-boss Glenn Roeder could only agree about Rooney, stating his belief the Magpies had been undone by a player who could eventually become the world's best.
Roeder: 'The beauty of football is you get so much scientific information on players and think you have a way to stop them, someone does something like that. Wayne Rooney cannot yet have come anywhere near fulfilling his potential. In three or four years, there is every chance he could be number one in the world.
'Together with Thierry Henry, he is my favourite Premiership striker. I just wish we had him.'
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