Wayne Rooney Labels Luis Suarez Trickier Than Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistMay 14, 2014

PIRAEUS, GREECE - FEBRUARY 24: Wayne Rooney speaks to the media during the Manchester United press conference at Karaiskakis Stadium on February 24, 2014 in Piraeus, Greece.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Wayne Rooney says that the enigmatic nature of Luis Suarez's style of play is what makes him a threat on par with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Speaking to the Daily Mail's Ian Ladyman ahead of this summer's World Cup, the Manchester United and England marvel gave his assessment of the Uruguay talisman his side will come up against in the tournament's Group D:

It’s difficult to prepare for him because he’s very unpredictable in the way he plays. I think if you look at Ronaldo or Messi, you know what their strengths are. It’s still difficult to stop, don’t get me wrong, but you know to an extent what you are going to get. With Suarez, it’s really difficult. He kicks the ball through you, he runs right through you. 

As a defender I’m sure he’s  difficult to mark. He is someone we will spend a lot of time on before we play Uruguay to make sure we can try and stop him.

Rooney's fears are indeed legitimate after seeing Suarez steamroll his way to numerous awards this Premier League season, guiding Liverpool into a title race that only came undone in the last fortnight of the campaign.

Mail Online Sport recently reported that the Reds' frontman had added Golden Boot winner and Premier League Player of the Year to his PFA and FWA Player of the Year gongs:

Suarez's 31-goal haul is magnificent, but the skill Rooney refers to also makes him a serious threat in the creation of opportunities for those around him, with Squawka stats showing that the poacher set up 87 scoring chances this term.

Squawka also depicts that direct approach of Suarez's that Rooney hints at, showing that his role as a striker doesn't inhibit his ability to take on a most devastating form with the ball at his feet:

After Italy and before Costa Rica, Uruguay will be the second test of England's group phase in a pool of teams that is already assured to see one star-studded outfit exit at the first hurdle.

But Rooney adds that the Three Lions are confident ahead of the Brazil-based competition, and when asked whether his side have a genuine chance of going all the way, he responded:

Yes, it can happen, of course. The players we have in the squad really excite me and I’m sure they will excite the fans. Obviously the manager picks the squad but you can see that he has seen the potential in the young players, too. The last few games he has seen that and been excited and I’m sure that’s in his thinking when he picks the teams.

Look at Raheem Sterling, for example. He has been incredible. You could see straight away the talent he had and he has kicked on again now. For Liverpool he has been outstanding. And then we have the likes of Ross Barkley. He has had a great season with Everton. Then (Daniel) Sturridge is more experienced, (Adam) Lallana is a bit older, too. So there is a great mix and I think we can surprise people. It’s exciting.

Rooney and Suarez clashed twice this term, once in the league and once in the League Cup due to both being injured and suspended, respectively, for their first top-flight meeting in September.

The score currently stands at one win apiece from those two encounters, with the South American scoring in March's 3-0 romp at Old Trafford while Rooney set up the 1-0 winner that would knock the Merseysiders out of the Capital One Cup.

In a way, Rooney and Suarez represent a similarly talismanic presence to their respective outfits, capable of servicing numerous roles for the overall good of the team, which, in turn, contributes to their unpredictability.

Roy Hodgson will be pleased to see his striker is already eyeing up the talents of their opposition, concerned not only with the obstacles that block his way but those that promise to damage areas of the squad he need not necessarily be worried about.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  Luis Suarez of Liverpool with his son Benjamin after the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield on May 11, 2014 in Liverpool, England. Liverpool finish as runners-up in the Premier Lea
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Far away from their Premier League headquarters, Rooney and Suarez will be just two of the superstars lining up against one another in Sao Paulo on June 19, and preparations would appear well underway for one party in particular.