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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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Rooney hails 'fantastic' Berbatov

Wayne Rooney has heaped praise on Manchester United strike partner Dimitar Berbatov, describing his team-mate as "fantastic to play with".

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Having stolen most of the limelight last season after plundering 34 goals in 44 games, Rooney has had to play second-fiddle to Berbatov in 2010-11 - with the Bulgarian currently sitting atop the Premier League scoring charts with 14 strikes to his name.

That Rooney has only scored one goal in open play this season is some departure from the prolific form that saw him named PFA Footballer of the Year in 2010, but the England striker is far from unhappy, choosing instead to shift the attention from his goal-shy run to the ability of his strike partner.

"I enjoy playing with Dimitar,'' Rooney told the official Champions League magazine. "If we are playing well together it is the product of us playing and training together for years.

"You start to learn which movements he will make, when he will pass the ball and when he will shoot. He is fantastic to play with. He can do things that are really special.''

Rooney has not only found himself in Berbatov's shadow this season, as new signing Javier Hernandez has also popped up with a number of crucial goals, including winners against Stoke, Valencia and West Brom.

Chicharito has netted nine goals in all competition since making his United debut in August and Rooney has been impressed by the quality of his Mexican understudy.

"He is a great finisher and a really nice lad,'' Rooney said. "He is always on the training pitch, trying to improve, which is nice to see and shows his dedication.

"He always has a smile on his face and enjoys his football. He has done really well in his first season and won us a few games. He has scored some important goals already. Hopefully he will continue to do that for years to come.''

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