Cool-hand Rooney comes of age as United pass patience test

April 25 2007

United's match-winner Wayne Rooney tussles with Alessandro NestaAnother memorable European night at Old Trafford, and another impressive performance by United, particularly in the second half. 

This compilation sums thing up nicely. Good to see a YouTube video put together with a bit of finesse. 

With Milan 2-1 up and apparently in control, I began to fear that United hadn’t learnt anything from the lesson Milan so coldly and ruthlessly taught them in 2005. 

But the sustained intensity of their attacking play was a fine thing to behold, and with all the pre-match focus on Cristiano Ronaldo, it was perhaps inevitable that Rooney would prove to be the match-winner. 

His first goal owed a lot to Scholes’s sublime scooped through ball, but he nonetheless showed commendable strength and composure to hold off Nesta’s challenge and push the ball past Dida. 

The winning goal showcased Rooney at his instinctive best, firing home first-time before Dida had had a chance to set himself. The celebration showed how much it meant to him. No open-mouthed fist-pumping here. Instead, having slid into the corner on his knees he turned around, put his head in his hands and sunk to the ground. This – you realised – was a goal he will cherish forever. 

In spite of United’s stellar season, Rooney hasn’t been on top form (although his 23 goals this season represent his best scoring figures to date). He’s drifted in and out of games, and his temperament continues to let him down. 

But by rising to the occasion in such spectacular fashion last night, he suggested he is learning to ally patience and perseverance to his already formidable talents.


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