Barcelona’s footballing maestro Lionel Messi has showered praise on Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney, claiming that the striker is an England great who would improve any team in Europe.


The England international has been criticised widely this season for his performances for Manchester United, while the emergence of Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy has raised doubts about his place in the Three Lions’ starting eleven.

However, Argentine superstar Lionel Messi believes that Wayne Rooney is still one of the best players in Europe and is among the great England players of his generation.

“There has always been a great deal of respect between myself and Wayne Rooney,” Messi told ShortList.

“For me he is the great English player of the generation. What he is capable of doing on the field is very special, and he is one of the few players that would improve any squad in Europe.”

The Manchester United forward has found the net 51 times in 109 appearances for England and recently claimed that he still has a lot more to contribute to his country.

“I’ve still got a few years left, I feel,” Rooney told the PFA’s 4 The Player magazine. “I’m always just thinking about what comes next and making sure I’m at my best for the summer.

“I feel I’m a lot more patient now in my play. When I was younger I could be impatient and I’d end up in positions I didn’t really need to be in.”

Can Rooney lead the English strikeforce?

Manchester United v Stoke City

With Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy and Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane in the form of their lives, there is legitimate reason to question whether the inclusion of Wayne Rooney benefits Roy Hodgson’s side. The former Liverpool boss has been reluctant to drop his captain thus far and will probably not do so at the Euros in the summer either, with Vardy likely to be used as an impact substitute.

Despite his uncertain form this season, the Manchester United forward is well capable of making an impact in crunch situations. His experience could prove to be vital for what is likely to be a young and relatively inexperienced England squad in France.

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