Zlatan Ibrahimovic insists English football should ‘appreciate’ Wayne Rooney more after he usurped Sir Bobby Charlton to become Manchester United’s greatest goalscorer.
Rooney’s fabulous free-kick in stoppage-time at Stoke salvaged a draw for United and extended their unbeaten run to 17 matches after he was brought on by Jose Mourinho on Saturday.
It was Rooney’s first Premier League goal since the opening weekend of the season and he has not started more than two successive United games since he was dropped in September.
Despite Rooney’s struggles, Ibrahimovic believes his teammate is in his own elect pantheon after overtaking Charlton’s international and club records within 18 months.
“Everybody knows what Wayne is. But this country has to appreciate him,” Ibrahimovic said. “I don’t see any other strikers like him today. Give me some names. Tell me. And still you’re not happy.
“He’s a complete player. It’s a big thing you know. Many great players have been here and his name is right on top.”
“I’m very proud to have been on the same field as him when he did it and hopefully he can continue to do what he’s doing. Off the field he’s a real leader and on the field he’s just complete.”
Rooney himself is now intent on regaining his status as a United first-teamer.
“I just have to keep going,” Rooney said. “Obviously, I’ve been a bit in and out this season in the team, so my main priority now is to try and fight for my place in the starting XI.
“That’s my main priority now. I’ve been in and out of the team and I need to keep trying to perform and stay in the team.”