Some would have expected the Manchester United legend to choose a former Red Devil.
As Manchester United’s all-time record goalscorer and the second-deadliest marksmen in Premier League history, Wayne Rooney has earned the right to assess the merits of his goal-getting peers.
Rooney, of course, has now begun his managerial journey as he attempts to impart his wisdom through his coaching philosophy at Derby County.
And on Wednesday, in Rooney’s pre-match press conference ahead of Derby’s Championship game against Luton Town on Friday, talk turned to one of the former England captain’s most esteemed contemporaries in Sergio Aguero.
Rooney praises Aguero.
Earlier this week, Aguero confirmed that he will leave Manchester City in the summer, drawing the curtain on a remarkable, goal-laden decade at the Etihad Stadium.
The Argentine, like Rooney, is the all-time leading goalscorer for a Manchester club with Aguero having netted 257 times in 384 games for City.
Aguero was also the author of one of Rooney’s most painful memories, scoring the last-gasp winner against QPR to clinch the Premier League title for City in 2012 and cap one of the most excruciating days in United history.
When asked about Aguero, Rooney was unequivocal in his praise.
“He’s certainly one of the Premier League greats that’s for sure. He’s right up there. He’s a fantastic player,” said Rooney.
“He’s been an outstanding player. He’s been an absolute revelation in the Premier League and one of the best strikers in the world.
🗣 “One of the best strikers in the world.”
Wayne Rooney congratulates Sergio Aguero on the amazing career he had at Manchester City pic.twitter.com/pSj4SaFCiJ
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) March 31, 2021
“His goal ratio is incredible and I’m sure he will be missed at Manchester City. I’m sure the Premier League will miss a player of his quality.
“From my point of view, I’d just to congratulate him on his career over here.
“Whether he stays in England or not obviously I don’t know but he’s certainly had a fantastic career with Manchester City.”
Aguero, who has won four Premier League titles during his time in England, has not yet revealed what lies ahead, and while Rooney certainly feels as though the 32-year-old is deserving of a place in the pantheon of Premier League strikers, he admits that he would rate former Arsenal talisman Thierry Henry above him.
In fact, Rooney rates Henry above two of the finest attackers to don the United badge in Eric Cantona and Ruud van Nistelrooy.
“Aguero has been fantastic and is certainly right up there,” added Rooney.
“But if I was asked to choose then I’d probably say Thierry Henry was the best foreign player.
“There’s a few in a pack just behind him who are right up there like Aguero, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Dennis Bergkamp and Eric Cantona.”