Rooney vital to Man Utd, says Tottenham boss Villas-Boas

Tottenham Hotspur Head Coach Andre Villas-Boas believes that despite the presence of Robin van Persie at Manchester United, Wayne Rooney is still the Premier League leaders’ most important player, the Daily Mirror has reported.

Since moving to United from Arsenal last summer van Persie has scored 21 goals, including, the Mirror adds, 10 in his last nine games. Rooney has by comparison been profligate in front of goal, yet to hit double figures and guilty of missing a penalty in the midweek FA Cup replay against West Ham.

Rooney has only recently returned from an injury suffered in training on Christmas Day, however, and Villas-Boas is wary of the England international, particularly after the last time his Tottenham side played United.

Spurs were victorious at Old Trafford in September, racing into a first-half lead but Rooney was brought off the bench for the second-half and nearly inspired a turnaround in United’s favour. It was only Rooney’s second appearance following the gash he suffered to his thigh against Fulham.

Villas-Boas said: “We’re always very unlucky, as he seems to return just in time for our games… I think he’s a player who makes Man United tick because of his movements and the fact that he always sacrifices himself for the team.

Also, because of his team spirit, desire to win and his focus. He has overcome some difficult moments in his career but he’s a top quality footballer,” adding that the combination of Rooney and van Persie is the most dangerous forward pair he has ever come across.

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