SLAVEN BILIC is hoping Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney does not make his long-awaited comeback against West Ham this evening after labelling the 30-year-old the best England player of his era.
Rooney is in contention to play some part of United’s FA Cup quarter-final replay against the Hammers at Upton Park having played an hour for the Under-21 side on Monday.
The United and England skipper has been missing with a knee injury since a 2-1 defeat at Sunderland on February 13 but manager Louis van Gaal hinted he could be involved in the cup tie.
Rooney, like the Red Devils as a whole, has struggled this season and has scored just seven league goals – a record that has seen his starting berth for England brought into question given the goalscoring form of both Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane.
However, Bilic is well aware the United striker will be eager to impress in what remains of the season.
Bilic said: ‘‘To be fair I am a massive Rooney fan. Since he stepped on the pitch in an Everton shirt.
“He is for me — I don’t know, I can’t talk about Jimmy Greaves or Bobby Charlton or Bobby Moore or any of them — let’s say my football era, Rooney is the best English player.
‘‘I would rather him not play, put it that way. 100 per cent, 70 per cent fit, I would rather him watch the game.”
With or without Rooney, United face a tough battle to overcome an in-form and confident West Ham side and we’re tipping a home victory that would send West Ham into a semi-final against Everton later this month.
Is Rooney the best England player of his generation?