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By ESPN Staff

Ferdinand on pal: Wazza just needs a goal

Rio Ferdinand has launched a staunch defence of Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney.

The £27million England striker has come under increasing scrutiny ahead of tonight's Champions League revenge mission against Benfica.

Sir Alex Ferguson has already dismissed the critics, claiming Rooney is suffering only due to an acute shortage of meaningful match action over the past six months.

Ferdinand shares a belief with his manager that there is no long-term problem surrounding his close friend and feels it will only take a goal from the 20-year-old to ease the pressure.

'If Wayne had scored against Reading on Saturday, the questions about him would probably not be being asked,' he said.

'I thought he did well at the weekend and got stronger as the game went on.

'But, as we all know, strikers are judged on goals. Everyone knows what a quality player he is and once he scores, people will soon be singing his praises again.'

Without a goal in Europe since his sensational debut-day hat-trick against Fenerbahce two years ago, Rooney is certainly due a Champions League scoring spree.