Manchester, United Kingdom – Wayne Rooney has told his Manchester United teammates to keep a close eye on West Ham's Andy Carroll at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
Carroll is sure to be on the receiving end of some sharp 'banter' from United fans given his time with arch-rivals Liverpool, whom he joined in an expensive £35 million move from Newcastle.
After an unsuccessful time on Merseyside, Carroll is now on loan to the Hammers and while a record of one goal in eight Premier League appearances for the London club is hardly one to frighten United's defence, the fact he broke his duck against Tottenham last week has not been lost on Rooney.
“Andy Carroll is a handful,” said fellow striker Rooney.
“I am sure if you ask any defender, they find it difficult to play against someone like that who is good in the air and on the floor.
“He is physical and makes it hard for opponents.
“That type of player doesn't always get all the goals but they can cause trouble up front and create problems.
“I am sure that is what (West Ham manager) Sam Allardyce wants him to do.”
United may lead the Premier League table by a point from champions and cross-town rivals Manchester City but that is in spite of an extraordinary record of conceding the first goal 13 times so far this season, including in their last five games.
Rooney accepts United cannot go on winning games from behind and that they urgently need to add to this term's lone clean sheet, against Wigan Athletic at Old Trafford back in September.
“Clean sheets are the foundation we try and achieve because we have plenty of players who can score goals and win games,” he said.
“As a team we are playing some good stuff at times but we are having to grind out results as well.
“Losing three games already is something we need to put right.
“We have been lucky that we haven't drawn any matches and we need to kick on from here and go on a good run.”
United did gain from Chelsea's draw with Manchester City on Sunday but Rooney stressed the key thing for his side, ahead of the first Manchester derby of the season at Eastlands on December 9, was to concentrate on their own form.
“We know City and Chelsea will be looking out for our results as we look out for theirs,” said Rooney.
“But it is important for us to concentrate on our own performances and make sure we get the wins because there are a lot of games coming up.
“It is tough period and I am sure the manager (Alex Ferguson) will use his squad. We just have to make sure we come through for him.” – Sapa-AFP