Rooney is England's Maradona - Terry Venables | inside World Soccer

Rooney is England's Maradona - Terry Venables

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Former England manager Terry Venables claims Wayne Rooney is "the nearest thing to Diego Maradona the country have ever produced."

The Manchester United ace has been compared to so many great players in recent years with Paul Gascoigne and George Best having been the ones closer to home.

Yet for positive impact on team-mates and goals scored, the current Argentina boss is the only logical comparison.

Rooney has been credited with single-handedly maintaining United's title charge following last summer's world-record sale of Cristiano Ronaldo.

"Rooney is a genuine world-class performer," Venables wrote in The Sun.

"While I do not believe he is the best player in the world at this moment, his display against Manchester City confirmed to me that he is the nearest thing to Diego Maradona these shores have ever produced.

"I have thought this for a while but have resisted stating it publicly for the fear of piling more pressure on the Premier League's most talked-about star.

"But after his latest matchwinning display, I realise I cannot keep the genie in the bottle any longer - Rooney is our Maradona."

He added: "He is managing to lift players around him in the same way Maradona did.

"Great - and I mean truly great players - have a knack of inspiring and bringing out the best in those alongside them.

"On numerous occasions Maradona was able to haul his teams and team-mates to greater heights.

"Often his presence was enough to inspire those around him and deflate those against him.

"When that was not enough, he relied on outstanding skills, technique and goals.

"That is what Rooney is doing now. He has become the biggest player at the biggest club in the world."

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