'Rooney was as good as Ronaldo,' says Fletcher

The Manchester United star gets his fair share of criticism but used to be as important as the Portuguese before stepping back, says Darren Fletcher

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney was every bit as exceptional a player as Cristiano Ronaldo for a time before stepping back for the sake of the team, says former Red Devils midfielder Darren Fletcher.

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Rooney equalled Bobby Charlton's record for most goals for United after scoring in a win against Reading in the FA Cup earlier in January and Fletcher, who spent more than a decade at United, feels that the club's skipper deserves recognition.

The West Brom captain argues that Rooney was as good as Ronaldo before sacrificing himself for the team.

"Everybody wants recognition. You always think you should have more," Fletcher told the Daily Mail.

"But he's broken records, captained United and England, won everything. He's up there with the best, every bit as influential as Ronaldo in his day.

"Those two went toe to toe one year but, after that, to allow Ronaldo to go forwards, Wayne fell back and was a team player and that was what they needed.

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"People with good football intelligence will realise that. Others may not."

West Brom, who sit eighth in the Premier League, visit Tottenham on Saturday while United host Liverpool a day later.