Fergie backing for Rooney
By Alex Dunn. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has backed Wayne Rooney to show his true colours at the weekend against Liverpool.
Rooney stole the headlines for all the wrong reasons this week after being red carded in United's 0-0 stalemate with Villarreal in the UEFA Champions League.
Not for the first time, Rooney's temperament has been the subject of intense scrutiny but Ferguson is confident the prodigious 19-year-old will prove his detractors wrong at Anfield.
With his Everton connections, Rooney is far from a favoured son on the red side of the Mersey and is sure to receive a lively reception from the home crowd.
"Wayne will put in a performance on Sunday," said Ferguson.
"All season, his performances have been fantastic for us. Wayne is a high-profile player, so I am not surprised at the attention.
"It happened with George Best, Paul Gascoigne and David Beckham. It is the way of the world.
"We have experience of these situations and we will handle it. This game is one of the highlights of the year. I love it.
"The atmosphere puts players on a real edge and it is something they respond to."
A serious injury to Gabriel Heinze has posed a real problem for Ferguson, with Kieran Richardson the only feasible option to deputise at left back.
The England new boy is not accustomed with a defensive role but Ferguson is confident the 20-year-old will prove his quality, on his first Premiership start of the campaign.
"Kieran acquitted himself really well when he came on for Gaby on Wednesday," said Ferguson.
"Villarreal tried a lot of players on the right wing and put several challenges to the lad but he came through them all with flying colours.
"You have to say the move to West Brom last season has proved to be a real bonus.
"He came back to us a man and is showing great maturity now even though he is only 20.
"He does provide us with a different option as an attacking full back and I am really pleased with him."