By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Jamie Carragher has raised doubts over Wayne Rooney’s longevity by claiming he has the mileage of a “35-year-old player”.
Rooney, who turned 30 last October, scored a sublime flicked winner against Swansea on Saturday, his first goal for Manchester United since 3 November and only his third Premier League strike of the season.
Despite the England and United captain showing a welcome return to form in the last two matches, Carragher has raised doubts over Rooney’s long-term future at Old Trafford.
Speaking on Sky Sports on Sunday, the Liverpool legend said of his former international team-mate: “If you are going to write Wayne Rooney off or say he is back, you can’t say he is back because of one moment in a game and you cannot write him off because of maybe two or three bad games.
“We have said before he was playing at 16, so in reality terms he’s maybe like a 33 or 34-year-old player.
“People talk about age, it’s miles on the clock and it’s games played. He must have played nearly 600 [club] games as a centre forward, which is maybe not the same as playing in the position I did.
“I just think that battering from centre backs and the pressure that is on him, mentally as well, to play from that age of 16 — I think we are looking at a player who is getting to the stage of his career where I don’t think he will be playing at the top level at 34-35.
“I just think he’s been playing so long now that maybe it’s 30 on his birth certificate but in terms of games played he’s a 35-year-old player.
“I think for Rooney to answer his critics or show he is still the man to play centre forward for Manchester United he maybe needs a run of 10 games — scoring maybe seven or eight goals.”
United ended their eight-match winless run on Saturday when they defeated Swansea 2-1.
Louis vab Gaal’s side finished the weekend fifth in the Premier League table on 33 points, nine adrift of leaders Arsenal.