Manchester derby build-up: Rooney welcomed back, Aguero noted as key dangerman

All the latest news and views ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester United legend Andy Cole has welcomed the return of Wayne Rooney for the Manchester derby on Sunday.

England international forward Rooney is available for selection after sitting out the last three Premier League games due to suspension.

The United captain is expected to start against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, and Cole believes that the 29-year-old will make Louis van Gaal’s team more competitive against the Citizens.

‘Wayne leads by example in the way he plays’, Cole told MUTV. ‘People always speak about his work-rate and how hard he works in games. I’m not sure how vocal he is but people can take something from how he works as hard as he does.

‘For him to come back for the derby is a massive plus and he’ll be really looking forward to it. It’s tough especially in a highly-charged game like a derby. Strikers want to score goals and, if you don’t, you feel you’re not contributing to the team.

‘He’s coming back after missing out on three games so he may do things quicker than he’s expected to but, with his experience, he’ll get through the game nicely. No doubt, if he gets a goal, he’ll feel even happier’.

Another United great, Bryan Robson, has also been speaking ahead of Sunday’s Manchester derby.

The 57-year-old believes that City striker Sergio Aguero will be a key threat for the Red Devils.

‘I think the defenders are going to have to do really well against Aguero, if he is fit - that would be a plus if he is out’, Robson told MUTV. ‘Dzeko is a real handful and (David) Silva, I have been told he is probably not going to play - that is also a plus. So if we can defend really well, it has been shown that City concede goals’.

Meanwhile, former United defender Danny Higginbotham has said that Rooney’s return could see Juan Mata dropped from the starting line-up against City.

‘If you're asking me if it's a choice between Mata and Rooney, I would have Rooney’, he told Sports Mole. ‘He's the captain of the club.

'He's a leader and has shown over the years in huge games - remember the goal that he scored in the derby a few years ago that he delivers the goods. Van Gaal might decide that there is room for both of them [in the team] on Sunday’.

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