Last updated : 05 September 2004 By Editor

"I can see Wayne Rooney having the same impact as Eric had on Manchester United when I signed him.

"The situation with Eric was different because he came at a time when we hadn't won the League for 25 years, so he was the man of his moment - and a very important moment.

"Since then we have won a few titles, but now we are trying to step up a few notches and get to a better level of play. That's why when a player of Wayne Rooney's class came along we just had to be in for him.

"We have gone as high as we had to to get Wayne.

"At the end of the day, it is a hell of a lot of money for an 18-year-old - more than twice what we paid for Cristiano Ronaldo. But the fee is a reflection of his progress over the past year.

"I have a gut feeling about Wayne. This club has always had the best players, players who entertain, thrill and excite, but also players of great courage.

"That bravery was the making of players such as Denis Law, Bobby Charlton and George Best. They had great courage, not just the ability to play.

"That is something we like to see here and Wayne has the same attributes.

"There is always a statement when you buy a player because your fans recognise you want to do something and that you are not prepared to sit on your laurels.

"A club the size of Manchester United should always be thinking that way. Our supporters think that way, too - and I'm no different.

"I wasn't specifically thinking we needed Wayne to counteract what's happening at Arsenal or Chelsea.

"This was simply a situation that we needed him because he was available.

"We couldn't have missed that opportunity and once we get all our players back then we will push Arsenal and Chelsea much harder. Wayne can be good for us in Europe, too, because the signs in the European Championship were quite clear.

"He's only 18 but he can play at that level against the best and do well against the best."