MX23RW : Saturday, September 22 01:27:45

Mauricio Pochettino: 'Wayne Rooney on par with Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo'

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino is adamant that Wayne Rooney deserves to be uttered in the same breath as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino believes that Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney should be considered in the same bracket as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Pochettino's men travel to Old Trafford later today but, despite boasting the best defensive record in the Premier League, the Argentine coach says that the Saints must be prepared to face a player on a par with two of the world's finest.

"I was speaking about it with my staff and we were saying he is the type of football player who is able to understand what is needed and what's required of him at every single phase of the game," the 41-year-old told reporters.

"I honestly rate him as high as Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi. I have a great admiration for how he is as a football player.

"I think he's an amazingly talented football player and I rate him as high as those two players."

This afternoon's game is scheduled to kick off at 3pm.

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England's Wayne Rooney celebrates scoring against Poland on October 15, 2013
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Pochettino 'rates Rooney as high as Ronaldo, Messi'
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