Chris Smalling is sure Wayne Rooney’s confidence remains high despite his recent goal drought for Manchester United. Rooney stretched his goalless scoring streak to 10 United matches on Saturday as Louis van Gaal’s men drew 0-0 at home to Newcastle. The United captain has not scored since April 4 although he was perhaps unlucky to have one chalked off for a very tight offside call against the Magpies. Rooney was not the only one to miss chances against Newcastle. Juan Mata ballooned a volley into the Stretford End in the second half and Smalling’s header struck a post in the dying minutes. Depay also rounded Krul when put through but failed to score. The Dutchman, who scored his first two goals for the club against Club Brugge on Tuesday, admits he and his team-mates have to be more ruthless. “It was a frustrating afternoon,” he said. “We started great and sharp and we created some chances but didn’t finish them. The second half also we created some more chances but again we didn’t finish it so that was the frustration. “When you look back you have to say it was one of those days but we have to start finishing. I could have finished a couple of chances but I didn’t and I have to work on that.” While United left Old Trafford disappointed, Newcastle headed back up to the north-east happy having answered some of the critics who condemned their supposed defensive frailty following the 2-0 defeat to Swansea last week. Jack Colback feels the critics were too quick to jump on Newcastle following the loss at the Liberty Stadium and their 2-2 draw against Southampton on the opening weekend of the season. “It’s quite scary really how quickly this season that everyone is being criticised, it’s daft, but that’s the nature of the game we are in,” the Newcastle midfielder said. “Everyone is quick to jump on the negativity but as players you have to focus. We were disappointed last week, but we focused quickly on the next game and we have got a point.” Steven Taylor, who along with Fabricio Coloccini performed superbly to repel United’s relentless attacking player, praised the impact of new manager Steve McClaren. “Everything has changed,” said the defender, who has played under 12 different managers during his 12 years at the club. “There are new methods here. The style has changed, and so has the training regime. “It’s a whole new look to Newcastle and it has been needing that – a bit of a fresh look to it. “The main thing is that he’s given the lads confidence. Everyone has had a clean slate.” Smalling believes Rooney and his team-mates did not have the rub of the green against Newcastle and is sure the captain is not suffering from a crisis of confidence. “No, I think if you see in his play, he is running in behind and he is giving himself opportunities,” Smalling said when asked if Rooney’s confidence had dipped. “I think we probably had double figures in terms of chances, not just to Wayne but for the whole team. “It’s just a case of one of those falling in, but the majority of the team is getting those opportunities so if we keep creating those chances, they will come eventually.” Rooney tested Tim Krul from 25 yards shortly after his disallowed goal, but did little else to suggest he was going to break his duck for the season. Despite his troubles in the box, Rooney is having a big influence in other areas – most notably in helping Memphis Depay find his feet at Old Trafford following his £25million move from PSV Eindhoven. “Wayne Rooney helps me a lot,” the Dutch forward said. “He has a lot of experience. He already knows everything about the football world so if I have any questions I can ask him.” Press Association
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (CMC) – Captain Darren Bravo and exciting all-rounder Justin Greaves both struck half-centuries as CWI President’s XI dealt a blow to Ireland’s confidence ahead of next week’s start of the three-match one-day series against West Indies, with a convincing three-wicket win here Saturday.Chasing 276 in a 50-over contest at 3W’s Oval, Cave Hill Campus, the President’s XI cantered to their target in the 47th over, with Bravo and Greaves getting the joint top score of 70.Left-hander Bravo, bidding for a return to West Indies colours following a period out of form, hit one four and half-dozen sixes in a knock requiring 62 balls.Greaves, fresh from helping West Indies Emerging Players capture the Super50 Cup last month, belted eight fours and a couple of sixes in 67 balls at the crease.Brandon King, one of West Indies’ latest batting recruits, chipped in with 45 off 57 balls while Sunil Ambris (22) and Joshua Dasilva (21 not out) played supporting roles.Ireland had earlier posted 275 for nine off their allotted overs thanks to opener Gareth Delany’s top score of 60 off 78 deliveries.Kevin O’Brien with 43, captain Andrew Balbirnie, 49, William Porterfield, 36, and Lorcan Tucker, 35, all chipped in with important knocks.Sent in, Ireland’s momentum came initially from Delany who put on 47 for the first wicket with Paul Stirling (17) and another 71 for the second wicket with Balbirnie.When Delany, who counted three fours and sixes, perished in the 25th over and Balbirnie fell eight balls later with five runs added, O’Brien and Porterfield combined in a 74-run fourth wicket stand to rescue the innings.Asked to score at just over 5-½ runs per over, Ambris put on 32 for the first wicket with left-hander Kieran Powell (17) before adding a further 36 for the second wicket with King, who struck four fours and a six.Bravo then took charge of the innings, posting 48 for the third wicket with King and 61 for the fourth with Greaves, to put his side in command.When Bravo perished in the 35th over, Greaves assumed responsibility for the run chase, adding 56 for the fifth wicket with DaSilva and 35 for the seventh with Romario Shepherd (19 not out) before falling in the 46th over with just eight runs required for victory.