Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney had been criticised widely for his performances this season, but the Englishman silenced his critics once again by scoring the winning goal against Liverpool FC on Saturday.
Rooney’s bad form was partly also due to the poor showing by the rest of the Manchester United team, as the Red Devils slid further and further away from the top four spots on the table.
However, the turn of the year seems to have changed Rooney’s fortunes, as the England international seems to have gotten back to form. His teammate Chris Smalling has praised his resurgence, especially after manger Louis van Gaal dropped him for the Boxing Day clash against Stoke City.
“Yeah, I think it [being dropped] can refresh you and spur you on a bit more to prove to everyone just how good you are and people don’t forget that,” Smalling was quoted saying in the Daily Mirror.
“It was a busy Christmas period, but since he missed that game, he’s come back in and he’s shown he is a top-class performer.”
The record breaker
The goal against Liverpool FC was a historic one indeed, as Wayne Rooney became the highest scorer for a single Premier League club, with 176 goals for Manchester United. Incidentally, Rooney beat the longstanding record of Thierry Henry, who has scored 175 for Arsenal FC. However, while Henry had scored his 175 in 258 games, Rooney took a 100 appearances more to reach his mark.
While Van Gaal has indicated that the Red Devils are not out of the running for the title yet, a top-four finish seems to be a more realistic aim for Manchester United right now. With Rooney seemingly returning to form with 5 goals in his last 4 games in all competitions, the Red Devils will need their captain to continue this purple patch for as long as possible to ensure Champions League football for next season.