Soldado has revealed his admiration for the man nicknamed Wazza.
The Valencia hero told the new Champions Matchday magazine: “If I look across the Champions League, the guy I most look forward to watching is Rooney.”
The United striker, 27 on Wednesday, scored England’s goal in Poland last week in the delayed World Cup qualifier.
But Soldado said: “Previously, he was more of a centre-forward – a goalscorer. But now he’s the type who defends a lot, whose game is growing. He’s on the ball a lot more now and very mobile.
“While there’s some distance between the two of us, given that he has won many more things than me, his changes reflect what I’m trying to do in my game.
“Perhaps I’ll score slightly fewer goals but I’m adding a great deal more to the team play.
“Like Rooney, I’m more involved in defensive work than I was. When I started as a striker, I thought that all I had to do was be ready to attack.
“I hung high up the pitch – not working back, not really bringing anything else but goals.
“Now, I try to show maturity and responsibility in the dressing room.”