Fresh from helping England qualify for the World Cup, Rooney returns to domestic action as United look for victory against in-form Southampton.
Saints head to Old Trafford on a run of four successive wins in all competitions and boast the best defensive record in the Barclays Premier League.
Those statistics will like come under pressure on Saturday against a United side boasting the likes of Rooney - a player Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino, a former Argentina international, believes is amongst the best in the world.
"I was speaking about it with my staff and we were saying he is the type of football player who is able to understand what is needed and what's required of him at every single phase of the game," the former Espanyol, Paris St Germain and Bordeaux defender said.
"He's a fantastic player that's able to play up front, to drop a bit higher in the pitch.
"He's a fantastic footballer that's able to understand what's required of him in every single phase of the game.
"I honestly rate him as high as Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi. I have a great admiration for how he is as a football player.
"I think he's an amazingly talented football player and I rate him as high as those two players."
Pochettino has done an impressive job at St Mary's since controversially taking the reins in January.
Saints currently sit fourth in the table with a four-point cushion on United, although it has not been without controversy.
Executive chairman Nicola Cortese has often made headlines and his recent description of managers as "basically just a department head like the others" raised eyebrows.
"I would never ever, ever speak about the words of my chairman or the interpretation of the words that are done of my chairman," Pochettino said when asked about the comments.
"All I can say is that I have an amazing relationship with him. We get along, we speak every day, we have a great relationship.
"I am in charge of the sports department. I am very happy within that role. We have a very good relationship."