Sir Alex Ferguson has no idea what his best Manchester United striking partnership is going to be.
On ability and price tag alone, Rooney and
However, there can be no guarantees.
And owing to
"It is early doors but at the moment I don't know where I am going in the sense of what my best partnership will be," said Ferguson.
"Probably the strongest part of the club will be in the striker department.
"That doesn't mean to say it will stay that way because competition is always healthy and them being the kind of young lads they are will be desperate to establish themselves.
"That is what competition is. We had it in 1999."
The Treble-winning quartet of
But a true gauge of what Ferguson has at his disposal just now will not be known until Rooney and
Even then, it may take a bit of time given Rooney's short pre-season was followed by that injury against Fulham, whilst
"Wayne has had a great training programme in the time he was off. He was never out of the gym to begin with," said Ferguson.
"In the last two weeks he gradually got into the football part and started getting his timing back.
"Now he has to get through that period when he needs game time.
"It is like
"Against Liverpool, most of the other players had 10 or 12 games under their belt."
Yet, due to his massive strength in depth, Ferguson is nowhere near as bothered by any fitness issues further forward as he is by those at the back.
Two days later, Vidic missed the English Premier League win at Liverpool complaining of tightness in the knee he ruptured his cruciate ligaments in last December.
Forty-eight hours after that Vidic was being condemned to another two months on the sidelines after further surgery.
Yet Ferguson admits he was not entirely surprised by the chain of events.
"I don't think he was ever 100%," said Ferguson.
"I noticed a couple of times in training that he was limping a little bit. Then he started feeling tightness in his knee.
"He wanted to carry on and in that situation that is what tough guys can do.
"Obviously the main operation was to correct the cruciate but when you do cruciates there is always the danger that the cartilage or meniscus is damaged also and that was the case."
So now United must wait for its captain to get fit again, with Smalling set to be the first man back in action, sometime next month.
It is not the first time in recent years Ferguson has had his defensive resources decimated either.
"It is not easy to deal with injuries," he said.
"The difficulty is for our medical staff to make a decision as to when players are ready to come back.
"The worst that can happen is if you try and rush them back they get a training injury.
"That is unthinkable nowadays and that is what we are trying to avoid."
English Premier League
Jamie Carragher has urged Liverpool to act swiftly to sort out the future of striker Luis Suarez.