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Rooney - Don't Write Us Off

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**Striker says United's experience will stand them in good stead

Wayne Rooney remains confident that Manchester United will come out on top in the title race despite the emergence of Manchester City as genuine challengers.

Roberto Mancini's City have made a scintillating start to the new campaign, winning 11 out of their opening 12 games to open up a five-point lead at the summit.

United were in similarly blistering form early on but suffered a humiliating 6-1 defeat at home to City in October to cast doubts over whether they could defend their Premier League crown.

And while the Red Devils have bounced back well in terms of results, performances have not been as eye-catching in recent weeks.

Rooney accepts that it will be difficult to overhaul City but maintains that United's experience, having won a record 19 league titles, will stand them in good stead.

He said in The Sun: "It's always dangerous to write off Manchester United. It has happened a few times and we have usually proved everybody wrong.

"It was said last year, because at this time last season people were saying we were playing badly and no one believed we would be champions.

"But we got our heads down, worked hard and started winning games even though we weren't at our best - and slowly we got better and better.

"In the end we won the league again, our 19th title, and that's why I believe we will come out on top again this season.

"We have a good enough squad and if we are in a good position come the New Year we will do what we always do - we will push on again.

"We know what it takes to win the league, we have that knowledge, that experience and that's something City just don't have. So I'm not worried.

"They have started well and they look strong so, yes, it is a good challenge for us. As United players we have to stand up to it and show what we are capable of - show we are capable of winning the league again.

"And people should remember we have the opportunity to put that 6-1 right when we go to City later this season. We'll be fully focused on that."

Midfield role
Rooney has been asked to fill a midfield role on occasions this season and is enjoying the different kind of challenge that presents, but laughed off suggestions that he could be the man to replace the recently retired Paul Scholes.

"I don't think there will ever be another Scholesy. The manager has asked me to play in there a few times up to now this season and I am happy to take the role on if he thinks that is a benefit for the team," said Rooney.

"To be honest, I feel playing there has been good for me as a player, as part of my development.

"I feel I have learnt a lot from it and I am confident that if I ever was to make the change to an out-and-out midfielder, I could cope with the role.

"I like the fact that you are constantly involved and get more touches on the ball and are able to spray passes around. But first and foremost I am a striker, I have played there all my career and ideally that's where I want to play."