Rooney needs fire in the belly - Moyes

The Red Devils boss does not want to see the England international change his playing style despite nearly being shown a red card against Cardiff City on Sunday

Manchester United manager David Moyes insists he does not want Wayne Rooney to lose the fiery passion in his game.

The England international caused controversy by kicking out at Jordon Mutch during Sunday's 2-2 draw with Cardiff City, with many feeling he should have been shown a red card.

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But while Moyes admits Rooney was lucky to stay on the pitch, he has hailed his work rate and performance levels this season.

“I think his form and his attitude and his temperament have all been first class,” Moyes told reporters.

“I couldn’t fault any of them. There will always be times when players have little bits where it’s not always right. On Sunday Wayne was probably a little bit fortunate but I still think the referee made the right decision.

“Wayne’s got a fire in his belly and I think he plays better when he’s tough and aggressive. I don’t want to change Wayne Rooney that’s for sure.

“I don’t want him to be kicking at anybody but I want him to be aggressive, to be challenging and running. I think we’re seeing a really good Wayne Rooney who’s in top form and scoring goals as well.”

Moyes was not alone in his assessment of Rooney, with United defender Chris Smalling also lavishing praise on his team-mate's desire to succeed at the top level.

“Wayne is a top player,” he said. “Everyone sees how he plays and a lot of players train in the same way that they play. What you see on a Saturday afternoon is what we face every day in training.

“You can see that hunger and passion in the way he plays. He's just a born winner. That breeds through the changing room before games, at half-time and at the final whistle. That has an effect on the whole squad.”