Wayne Rooney has not received the recognition he deserves for a being a “sporting great” and the record goalscorer for both Manchester United and England, says Phil Jones.
A place among the modern-day greats has been nailed down by a man currently on the books at Derby.
Having burst onto the scene as an exciting 16-year-old and gone on to reach the very top of the game, Rooney’s standing in the global game is without question.
At Old Trafford, he will forever be idolised as one of the finest frontmen to ever represent the Red Devils, scoring 253 goals for the club, while a further 53 efforts came in the colours of England.
Jones, though, is among those who believe that Rooney’s brilliance is not always given the credit it deserves, with the 34-year-old approaching the end of a career that would be the envy of many.
The current United defender told MUTV of his former team-mate: “He’s a sporting great, not just for Manchester United, but for football itself.
“I think his achievements were overshadowed and under-appreciated a bit.
“I don’t think he got the recognition he should have got considering he was England’s record goalscorer, all the goals he scored for United, and the trophies he won.
“He was unbelievable and when he was doing this for England and United people still questioned him. But I think now people really do appreciate what he did for United and football.”
Jones, who savoured Premier League, FA Cup and Europa League successes alongside Rooney, added: “I had a really good relationship with Wayne.
“When I first signed he helped me a lot and we became good friends.
“Now, if I’ve got something to speak about, he’s someone who I’d like to think I could pick up the phone and speak to.
“I’m sure he’s going to go into management as well. He’s a great guy and he’s just a normal, hard-working family guy.”
Rooney, who left United to return to Everton in 2017, is back in English football after taking in a brief spell with MLS side D.C. United.
A player-coach role is being filled at Derby, with the intention being to follow the likes of ex-England colleagues Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard into high-profile managerial posts .