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Wayne Rooney: Competition at Forward Will Drive Manchester United Star

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 25:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Fulham at Old Trafford on August 25, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent ISeptember 29, 2012

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney will be driven to play his best football now that he's finally under pressure to outperform his fellow star forwards this season.

The addition of Robin van Persie this summer has paid off for Sir Alex Ferguson and United thus far. The Dutch veteran has cashed in on five goals in five Premier League matches, and even poured in a hat trick against Southampton in his third EPL appearance.

Rooney believes that competition is "great" for the club, and who wouldn't agree? (via ESPN.com)

There is a lot of competition up front, but that is great for the squad. The manager will rotate when he feels it is necessary.

Rooney is just getting back into top form after missing a few weeks with a thigh gash, but already seems to have a sense of urgency about him in terms of playing well, not only his club but for his starting job.

Sure, pigs would fly the day Wayne Rooney was relegated to the bench long-term, but there is still a fresh new sense of "no one is untouchable" around Old Trafford since the van Persie splash this offseason. Not only that, but Rooney has watched his club succeed without him this season.

Here's Rooney on what it's like to be back on the pitch (via ESPN.com):

It does feel like the start of my season. It was a freak injury and whilst it wasn't too bad, I had to be careful when I came back training and in games because it could open up again. I am glad to be over it and back playing.

I bet he's more than just "glad" to be back. Any competitor who sees his or her team thrive without him more often than not returns with an edge and something to prove.

That will be the case in Rooney's situation. 

The focus of nonstop criticism and praise, the 26-year-old star will be on a mission to prove that he is more valuable than van Persie, and that Manchester United isn't the same without him. He's scoreless in his first three appearances this season, though, so the time to step up is now.

Rooney will be driven to do just that this weekend when United takes on Tottenham. Otherwise he risks being swallowed up by his club's elite competition at forward.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter for more EPL takes, reaction and analysis.

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