Quinton Fortune is adamant Wayne Rooney remains vital to Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United side.
Following a poor start to the season, Rooney was dropped for the 4-1 victory over Leicester City on Saturday.
The United captain’s prospects of breaking back into the starting XI appear bleak, with players in form in all the positions he has played in recent years.
However, Fortune – who spent seven years at Old Trafford – insists the 30-year-old still has a lot to offer.
“No way in a million years am I going to say he’s finished,” he said.
“You need to have Wayne around the place. You find me a player with his influence, his history in the game, his experience.
“You speak to the players at Manchester United and how important he is on the pitch and off the pitch.
“If I were at United, I would squeeze as much as possible out of Wayne.
“He’s at the stage now in his life where he may not be able to play every game because as you get older, your body recovers differently.
“When he was 17 or 18, he could run through a brick wall. He went to play football with his mates after playing. I just think we need to have more patience with him.”
And Fortune went on to compare Rooney to former United captain Roy Keane.
“I remember Roy Keane, I loved him so much as a player, and when I saw him play he sacrificed everything to help the team win and I can see a bit of that in Wayne,” he said.
“He is sacrificing his own game. For me, he should be a striker and play up front, but he’s playing in midfield and there’s a reason why he is the highest scorer for England and also going to be for Manchester United.
“He played in an attacking role. So we need to be patient. But we know, he’s Wayne Rooney and if he doesn’t perform then everyone will have a go at him.”