Knowledge is power

"Now I'm older and more experienced, I know we just need to keep playing our game if we're losing. There's always a chance we'll get an opportunity to score."

- Wayne Rooney

26/04/2012 10:33, Report by Ian McLeish

Reds ahead on experience

Much is made - and rightly so - of the influence Manchester United's wise old heads can have on the younger players during the run-in, in the dressing room and on the training ground.

But that experience is just as vital in the middle of a match, as the pressure builds. Witness the way Paul Scholes came on to slow the pace of the game down in the FA Cup match at Eastlands, just as Man City's tails were up.

But it's not just Scholesy and, of course, Giggsy who have been there, won that. Between them, Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Nani, Ji-sung Park and Dimitar Berbatov have played more than 1,800 matches and amassed a grand total of 26 Premier League medals. You just can't buy that sort of collective experience.

Rooney recently gave Inside United a fascinating insight into the Red mindset.

"When I was a young lad and first at the club, we might have been losing a game and I'd have been saying: 'Just put the ball in the box' and panicking a bit. Now I'm older and more experienced, you know to just keep playing your game because there's always a chance you'll get an opportunity to score. That comes from playing so many games and the experience you pick up."

For an example of that philosophy in action, just cast your mind back to Carrow Road. We're not denying that City's squad is full of experienced, top quality footballers. But, when it comes to going the distance, it's just that United's is fuller.

The views expressed in this article are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Manchester United FC.

More - Derby debate: City vs United fans | Ferdinand urges Scholes to play on


Premier League