Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has labeled Wayne Rooney as "England's best player".
Rooney was once the subject of a 20 million pound transfer bid by Newcastle, near the end of Sir Bobby Robson's reign in 2004.
But Alex Ferguson and Manchester United then topped that with a 25 million pound offer, to lure him away from hometown club Everton.
"He's a fantastic player and one of my favourites. I love him - he is so passionate about the game and I love the way he plays it with a toughness. He is England's best player and I think he changes games for Manchester United," the Daily Star quoted Pardew, as saying.
"Wayne changes them from a top-four team into a top-two team - that's how powerful he is," he added.
Pardew insists it is pointless trying to hatch a plan to stop Rooney when United visit Tyneside this afternoon, because manager Ferguson has such a wealth of talent at his disposal.
"We don't have any particular plans to stop Wayne on his own because I don't believe that you can do that against Manchester United," he said.
"If you have a plan for Rooney, then what are you going to do about dealing with Robin van Persie? You need a plan for the whole team. They might even play Rooney in behind the front two or in his normal role behind Van Persie. Sir Alex has lovely options in that area," eh added. (ANI)