Rooney: Valencia return a massive boost

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has spoken of his joy at the timely return to form and fitness of Antonio Valencia as the Red Devils continue their chase for major honours both domestically and in Europe.

The Ecuadorian winger missed six months of the season after breaking his ankle in a Champions League fixture against Rangers last September.

But Valencia has hit the ground running since returning to first team action in an FA Cup victory over Arsenal last month, and United have only suffered one defeat in all competitions since the 25-year-old made his recovery.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson recently hailed Valencia’s return as potentially crucial in United’s quest for trophies in the final months of the season, and Rooney agrees with his manager’s assessment.

"I was probably the happiest person in the team to see him back!” said the 25-year-old front-man in an interview with the Red Devils' official magazine Inside United.

“And he looks like he's never been away. Having Nani on one wing and Antonio on the other is fantastic because they each bring something different.

“Nani has created a lot of goals, but he's more about dribbling and getting shots off, whereas Antonio is more focused on getting down the line and whipping the ball in. It's a good mixture to have."

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By Liam Twomey