Rooney is England's Maradona

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London, Jan 30 (ANI): Manchester United ace striker Wayne Rooney is not the best player in the world at this moment, but his display against City confirmed to that he is the nearest thing to Diego Maradona these shores have ever produced, according to former great Terry Venables.

Sir Alex Ferguson hailed Rooney's display in Manchester United's Carling Cup semi-final victory against rivals City on Wednesday as "world class".

The Red Devils boss was right that Rooney is a cut above everyone on the park, Venables said.

"The way he took the game to City merely underlined what most of us have known for a while: He is a genuine world-class performer. But after his latest match winning display, I realise I cannot keep the genie in the bottle any longer... Rooney is our Maradona," The Sun quoted him, as saying.

Venables said just like Maradona, Rooney is a talisman to those who play with him at United and increasingly more so, England.

Cristiano Ronaldo's 80 million pounds world-record switch to Real Madrid has allowed Rooney to flourish even more at Old Trafford.

He is managing to lift players around him in the same way Maradona did at Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors and Napoli - not to mention at international level with Argentina.

"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," Venables said.

Like Maradona, he knows where the target is and like the Argy legend, he can score all types of goals," he added. (ANI)

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