Former Manchester United striker Andy Cole believes Wayne Rooney's ability to finish the simplest of chances is what has made him so deadly this season. The 24-year-old is in the best form of his career having scored 34 goals in all competitions so far, and has been an integral player for the Red Devils.
However, a recent ankle injury proved telling as United crashed out of the UEFA Champions League to Bayern Munich, while seeing their Premier League title hopes dealt a huge blow with defeat by Chelsea followed by a lacklustre draw with Blackburn Rovers. Rooney has always been capable of scoring goals of the highest quality, but Cole believes the fact that the England international is now finishing more rudimentary chances is what has made him one of the most prolific forwards in the world.
Cole told Press Association Sport: "The good thing with Wayne this season is that he has got lots of tap-ins or goals from eight or ten yards, and those make big things in a season.
"His work-rate has always been the same and he has always been a team player, but to get into those areas and get more goals it has been absolutely superb. He has really stepped up to the plate and with (Cristiano) Ronaldo leaving he has come out and blossomed. He is now showing his full potential."
Cole, however, feels it is vital that England do not rely too much on Rooney if they are to harbour hopes of success at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. The former Everton player is quite rightly expected to be a integral player in Fabio Capello's team, but the man who scored once in 15 appearances for the Three Lions between 1995 and 2002 feels the strongest international sides have been the ones that are able to work well together.
"In England, I feel we sometimes believe that one player can win us the World Cup," said Cole. "All teams have special players and England's is Wayne Rooney. However, the World Cup is not won by one player. For us to win it every player on a given day is going to have to play to their maximum."
Cole's managerial goals
Cole was speaking in Hong Kong, where he will lead a team in the Soccer Sevens tournament in the city next month. The 38-year-old recently had a spell coaching at Huddersfield Town, and he admitted he is keen to step into management in the future.
"I don't want to close any doors on anything," he said. "I love football. Given the opportunity I would like to coach at a football club again and learn what you need to learn. but my ultimate goal is to try and manage a team given the opportunity."