The United star was selected in a deeper role for the Britannia Stadium assignment and was unflustered throughout, adding real composure by making time for himself on the ball.
Rooney's display was sufficiently impressive to earn him Sky Sports' man-of-the-match award and Sir Alex Ferguson explained afterwards the thinking behind his tactical decision.
"I thought he was brilliant," enthused the boss. "I think he was possibly needing a different role in terms of getting his confidence back.
"He's been getting a little bit of criticism, not seriously so, but a few doubters. He's a fantastic player and our job is to get his confidence and form back. I thought a spell in midfield today would do him the world of good and, of course, it worked for us.
"With Chicharito, Robin van Persie and Wayne on the pitch, they have got 55 goals between them and that counted for me," he added. "One of them is going to score for you and that was important.
"I also thought a spell in midfield for a while could be good for Wayne."
When asked if Rooney is likely to play there again this term, the boss replied: "Yeah, it's a possibility we'll utilise players who can get you goals. I think we tried to do that today with Antonio Valencia wide right and Shinji Kagawa on the left, who I thought was fantastic, as it gave ourselves options to score."
As for the player himself, Rooney was more pleased with the three points than his own personal performance.