Whilst all the media hype revolved around Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of our Champions League final, questions on whether he could perform on the big stage (although if scoring in the FA and League Cup finals, as well as against Liverpool, Arsenal and City, and being the top scorer in the CL doesn’t make him a threat in the big games, I don’t know what will!), Wayne Rooney was a safe bet for a player who would show up. Rooney thrives in the limelight, working his arsed off and delivering when it really matters.
To be fair, had Carlos Tevez been more clinical that night, Rooney could have had an assist or two to his name, but as it was, he didn’t, and truth be told, had a fairly disappointing match.
Whilst praising him on his efforts in the first half, the Evening News recognised his failure to perform in the second, and somewhat kindly awarded him a 7. Once again showed his maturity by doing much of his good work deep, but twice opened up Chelsea in the first-half with crosses of the highest order. Struggled to make an impact in the second-half when forced to feed on scraps.
It must have pained Sir Alex Ferguson to do so, as Rooney is a player you always want to have on the pitch, but he subbed him in extra time, as he just wasn’t making the break-through. Rooney confesses he was gutted, but his mood lightened somewhat when Van der Sar made that crucial and winning save.
“I’d have taken a penalty in Moscow,” said Rooney. “It’s always important your centre-forward takes one in shootouts. I don’t think it’s a pressure you should put on defenders. I was very disappointed not to be on the pitch for the penalties. But when Edwin van der Sar saved that last penalty it was just an unbelievable feeling. All the disappointment went straight away.”
If anything though, the disappointment of missing out on sharing in the glory of a penalty shoot out will just spur Rooney on. He’s not the kind of player who will sit about and sulk, rather get in to action to change things.
Whilst unusually quiet in Moscow, I have no doubt the next time a big game comes along, Rooney will be playing his heart out and helping us win, because he’s a class player, and long may that continue.