Date:Saturday April 11 2009
If there's a positive of the last few weeks, it surely is the form of Wayne Rooney who is playing consistently well these days. On the left, up front, with a partner or without, he's just excellent.
It's no coincidence that we battered Fulham in the second half when Rooney was on the pitch; it's no coincidence that he was at the heart of all our best work against Porto, scoring one and providing an assist as well. And it's no coincidence that once again he was United's best player, even though his crossing wasn't at his best at Sunderland.
But one of his crosses brought an important goal and he really should have scored himself with excellent shots: he was unlucky that none went in.
There is a massive burden on Rooney in these times. Last season it was Ronaldo to who we turned when things were going wrong but then the whole team was in a much better form - never we hit the lows of the past few weeks. And this time we can't rely on Ronaldo: he scores some important goals still but he's very far from his best.
But the form of Rooney is a great hope amid all the troubles. For he is a player who can motivate and spur on the others as well, whose industry, allied with skill, heavily influences matches. He's not a matchwinner in the Ronaldo mould: he rarely disappears for entire games only to pop up twice in the area to bag a brace which wins the game. No, he's usually involved from the start to finish and his work can give a lift to others.
I very much hope he stays injury-free and that his form will not dip to match that of the team but his colleagues' will pull themselves together and rise to his level. Especially now as we face one of the most important games of the season. For we can still win the league if we can't win at Porto; however, I'm absolutely certain that if we produce a really good display, one which did not look likely in recent weeks, and win then we'll win the league FOR SURE. The lift, the relief, the confidence and momentum injected will see to that. And nobody can do more for that than Wayne Rooney.
Date:Saturday April 11 2009
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