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The Manchester United captain's form has attracted plenty of criticism but his former team-mate believes the 30-year-old can silence his critics

Nani has offered strong backing to his former Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney and believes the England captain's best days at Old Trafford may still be ahead of him.

Rooney is three goals shy of Bobby Charlton's all-time record of 249 goals for the 20-time English champions but his place in the side under Jose Mourinho has come under increasing scrutiny.

The 30-year-old has one goal in seven appearances this season, with debate rife over what constitutes his best position for the latter stages of his career.

Indeed, Rooney moved to midfield and turned in a much-criticised display during Sunday's 3-1 Premier League defeat at Watford, while he has been ineffectual playing nearer to goal.

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But Nani – now with La Liga strugglers Valencia – is confident Rooney's quality will shine through.

"Rooney is a special player. Strong, fantastic quality, shooting, vision – very intelligent," he told Omnisport. "I enjoyed playing with him. He is a player who is a big part of Man United.

"He has the chance to improve that and build his story. If he continues to play at high level he can become the best there."

Like Rooney, Paul Pogba has endured a stuttering start to the season since becoming the world's most expensive player by sealing a return to Old Trafford from Juventus.

The France midfielder was the jewel in United's youth ranks during Nani's time at the club, but opted to leave for Serie A in order to enjoy better first-team opportunities. 

And Nani has expressed surprise over his decision to rejoin following reported interest from Real Madrid.

"I'm a bit surprised that Pogba went back," the Portuguese added. "A lot of clubs wanted him, there were rumours that other clubs would get him.

"When he went back I was happy. He knows the club well and will be a star at the club."