Fergie expects 100-goal Rooney to get even better
WIGAN: Sir Alex Ferguson believes Wayne Rooney will score "many more" for Manchester United after he joined a select band of players to net 100 goals for the club.
Rooney reached the milestone after opening the scoring during his side's 5-0 victory at Wigan on Saturday.
The England striker ended the match with two goals as United's season exploded into life after a low key start, which included a surprise 1-0 defeat at newly-promoted Burnley.
"It's great for Wayne," said Ferguson after United made it two wins from their first three Premier League games.
"He's still a young lad and some players are at a club for many years and don't reach that total.
"Because of his age I'm sure he'll go on and score many more goals for us. He's a very important player for us."
United paid Everton 20 million pounds for Rooney in 2004 ago but the 23-year-old has easily repaid that fee over the years.
He has shone from the moment he opened his United goal account with a hat-trick against Fenerbahce in the Champions League at Old Trafford.
Rooney could have left the DW Stadium with four goals but for two fine saves from Wigan keeper Chris Kirkland.
Ferguson also singled out Michael Owen for praise after the former Liverpool and Real Madrid striker came off the bench to score his first Premier League goal in a United shirt.
Owen, a free signing from Newcastle, produced a fine finish for his side's fourth goal which will have done his chances of earning an England recall no harm at all.
"Strikers have to score and when they don't they think it's the end of the world," added Ferguson.
"Michael needed a goal. It was a fantastic goal. He has proved over the last decade that he is one of the best strikers in England."
United looked set for a frustrating afternoon after failing to score in the first half at Wigan.
But they moved up a gear in the second half, with Dimitar Berbatov's well-taken effort and a Nani strike adding to the goals from Rooney and Owen.
It was the perfect response after the embarrassment of losing to Burnley four days earlier.
"It was a really good result and performance," added Ferguson.
"The reality is Wednesday was disappointing. But we're not going to kill ourselves because of it.
"We've got to be prepared for setbacks. It shouldn't have happened but it did happen. But we've done something about it."
This was Wigan's ninth top-flight game against United and they were still searching for a first win over over their north west neighbours after eight straight defeats.
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez admitted his side had been taught a lesson.
"The big difference for me was conceding the first goal," said Martinez. "That was a bit too sloppy for my liking.
"Mentally we left ourselves a bit too exposed. We've got to make sure we learn our lesson."
Martinez believes Mohamed Diame will make a big impact at Wigan. The French midfielder made his debut after joining from Spanish side Rayo Vallecano.
"Mohamed's been training with us a few days," added Martinez. "He's going to be a big player for us."