Rooney can achieve more after 200 goals - Moyes

By Sonia Oxley

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Wayne Rooney scored twice against Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday to reach 200 Manchester United goals as he enjoys a new lease of life under David Moyes who thinks he can become one of the club's greatest predators.

The striker's commitment to Old Trafford had been questioned and he was left out of key games last season under Alex Ferguson, who also took to playing him in more of a midfield role as Robin van Persie took the goalscoring glory.

Rooney is fourth on United's all-time leading scorers' list, behind Bobby Charlton (249), Denis Law (237) and Jack Rowley (211) and his manager can see him going further.

"I remember coming in and saying you've got a real chance to be one of the all-time leading goalscorers at this club and I tell you what if he keeps playing like he did tonight he will get there," Moyes told a news conference.

Along with the rousing reception Rooney has been getting from the Old Trafford crowd, despite a turbulent few months, Moyes' faith in him seems to have lifted the England striker's mood and his game.

Ferguson had said in May that Rooney wanted to leave the club, triggering a close season of speculation over his future and an ultimately unsuccessful but very public pursuit by Chelsea and Jose Mourinho for his signature.

As the rumours swirled, Rooney himself never spoke publicly on the matter and on Tuesday when asked about it he was still keen to avoid the issue of whether he wanted to stay or go.

"Listen, I will concentrate on my football as I have done all summer," he told ITV after a 4-2 victory over Leverkusen in their Champions League opener. "I got my head down in the summer, worked hard and I'm concentrating on my football.

"The fans here have been fantastic with me and the reception I get here is great. Hopefully I can reward them with goals and performances like tonight."

NEW LEVEL

Moyes had long said Rooney was training well and was in a good frame of mind and slowly but surely he has been proven right as the striker - deployed in his more traditional role - has enjoyed a good start to the season.

Having been United's best player in last month's 0-0 draw with Chelsea in the Premier League and having scored from a free kick in Saturday's 2-0 win over Crystal Palace, Rooney took his performance to a new level against Leverkusen.

He volleyed in a 22nd-minute opener, netted the third with a right-footed shot to bring up 200 for United and then passed superbly to assist the fourth scored by Antonio Valencia.

His goals have come since he started wearing a headband to protect his forehead after suffering a deep gash and, whether that is a lucky charm or a mere coincidence, Rooney is delighted to have reached another milestone.

"It's something I'm very proud of, I'm pleased to score 200 goals for a club like Manchester United and hopefully there is more to come," he said.

"I'm delighted to be back playing and scoring and this was a good result. The first game in the Champions League is always important and thankfully we got the victory."

It has taken Rooney 406 appearances to notch his double century, meaning he averages nearly a goal a game, and being still only 27 years old, he has time to overtake Charlton.

"It (the record) was something we made him aware of," Moyes said. "More importantly, I wanted to get him back in a good condition and mentally correct when he was ready to play,

"I think you see (that), he is moving as well as he has done, he's in a good place himself at the moment, any centre forward who is scoring goals feels good about himself."

Rooney's latest goals took him to second in United's Champions League scorers chart, past Ryan Giggs. He now has 30 goals, eight shy of Ruud van Nistelrooy's record tally.

Leverkusen manager Sami Hyypia could only watch in awe as Rooney tore his side apart.

"He showed he can score a lot of goals," the former Liverpool defender, who knows from his playing days how hard it is to come up against Rooney, told a news conference.

"He still has a few years left, to score 200 goals is a good achievement... it looks so easy how he is playing, he showed today he is a quality player." (Editing by Ken Ferris)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On Now: Chennai vs Punjab

On Now: Chennai vs Punjab

McCullum's lightning fifty propels Chennai after Dhoni elects to bat at Abu Dhabi. More »

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Trott to take 'immediate break' from cricket

Trott to take 'immediate break' from cricket

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »