Wayne Rooney is England's greatest player ever - Ander Herrera

Ander Herrera has declared that Wayne Rooney is England's greatest ever footballer as he paid tribute to the Manchester United captain.

Rooney became England's record scorer in September when he scored his 50th goal for his country but World Cup winners like Sir Bobby Charlton and Bobby Moore are often described as their finest players.

But Herrera hailed Rooney after the 29-year-old marked his return to his former club Everton with the third goal in United's 3-0 victory at Goodison Park.

"Wayne is our leader," said the Spaniard. "He is the best English player in English history and we are lucky to have him. When he fights like he did today we can be very proud of him. He has always helped me a lot."

Herrera marked his return to the side by scoring United's second goal and setting up Rooney's strike but was adamant he has to maintain those standards.

"When I have played [like that] I think I can be happy," he said. "You always have to give everything and I did that. But if I want to be a top player I have to play like this always."

Herrera challenged United to reach the same heights again if they are to stand a chance of regaining the title but was pleased with the way they responded to a 3-0 defeat at Arsenal.

"If we want to be champions then this is not enough we have to keep on playing like this," he explained. "Now we have to play against Man City in the Premier League [on Sunday] and if we want to be the champions then we have to keep playing like this.

"This was the way we had to react after Arsenal. The first 25 minutes were fantastic. We controlled the game and created chances. We didn't let them play and they are a good team. So we can be proud, we can be happy but we don't have too much time to enjoy it."

Herrera was a 2014 signing from Athletic Bilbao but United bought two other central midfielders this summer, in Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

And while he believes he and the Frenchman have much in common, he feels they can benefit from the presence of experienced colleagues.

"When the club buy new players you have to take advantage of it," he said. "It is good for me and the club. When the club sign top players it is a challenge and you have to gain from it.

"Morgan and me can learn a lot from Michael Carrick and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Morgan and I are very similar players."