Wayne Rooney got his goals tally off the mark against West Ham, simultaneously shushing his critics and starting what his team-mates expect will be a fruitful spell in front of goal for the Reds no.10.
Considering his incredible scoring exploits last season, it’s surprising that Rooney has come in for negative press over a lean spell that has last 13 games, for some of which he was struggling with an injury. He’s only played in two league games this season and is still honing his fitness after missing pre-season.
While there was no great concern about his wait to start scoring again from inside the Reds camp, his colleagues were still pleased he’s got his season tally up and running.
Ryan Giggs, who won the penalty that Rooney converted against the Hammers, said: “It’s only the third game of the season, and he’s only played in two of them. But a goalscorer is a goalscorer and, especially with the season he had last year, he was keen to get off the mark. I’m sure he’ll start putting the ball away quite regularly now.”
Nani’s salient assessment is that Rooney is a confidence player: “It was important he scored. He’s a player who needs goals. This goal will give him more confidence for the games coming up.”
But Sir Alex says it’s his all-round game that he is focusing on, and more minutes under his belt that will inevitably lead to his best form. “Strikers want to score,” the boss said. “He took his penalty well. But it's his performance we should be talking about. He needs football, he needs games. That 90 minutes will do him no end of good. He'll get a couple of games for England now too, and that will help him for when he returns for some big games coming up.”