10. EFL Cup final – 2017
Wayne Rooney didn’t even get on the pitch for Jose Mourinho’s first trophy win as Manchester United manager. With a couple of minutes to go and the scoreline at 2-2, Rooney was on the touchline, ready to come on and help the team win.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a late winner though meaning Rooney wouldn’t get a run out or a shot at glory, not that he was bothered. He celebrated like the fans, leaping in the air and hugging whoever was closest to him.
9. What?! Fucking what?!
United were 2-0 down with 25 minutes left to play against West Ham. It wasn’t looking good. Rooney then scored a 15 minute hattrick and a Sky Sports cameraman ran on to the pitch. “What?! Fucking what?!” It saw him slapped with a two-match, ridiculously, but we were champions four weeks later.
8. His debut
Imagine being a teenager and making your debut for Manchester United, following a huge transfer fee. Rooney faced Fenerbahce in the Champions League and scored a hat-trick. What a start to what went on to become a fantastic career at United.
“Wayne Rooney scores for Manchester United and it’s not the last time you’ll hear that,” said the commentator. He wasn’t wrong.
7. Goals record
Having already become England’s all-time leading goalscorer, replacing Sir Bobby Charlton, it’s a fantastic achievement to replace the same man as the top scorer for United. These records were in place for decades and you would imagine decades will pass before either comes close to being broken again.
He came off the bench against Stoke to score an injury time freekick, his 250th goal for the club. There was no big occasion for him though, with him racing back to the centre circle, more concerned about the team getting the winner than he was personal glory. It’s a shame it came when his decline was fully set in but
6. Winning the FA Cup
Having won the league and League Cup several times, as well as the Champions League and Club World Cup, the FA Cup was a trophy that had eluded Rooney in his time at United. We came close in 2007, losing to Chelsea at the end of extra-time, but could never get over the finish line. Until 2016.
Rooney was named Man of the Match after a brilliant performance where he helped drag United to victory. It was his hard work and skill which set up Juan Mata for the equaliser.
5. Champions League final – 2011
It may have ended in tears but Rooney provided us with a moment of sheer ecstasy when equalising against Barcelona in the 2011 Champions League final. He started the move, played a couple of one-twos with his teammates, before finding the top corner of the net. It was a brilliant goal.
4. Beating Milan
This game and goal is often overlooked because of the disaster of the return leg but Rooney played a blinder against Milan in the 2007 Champions League semi final. After an early goal from Cristiano Ronaldo, Milan were leading 2-1 before half-time. In the second half, Rooney scored the equaliser, before scoring the winner in the final minute.
Rooney took his chance early, catching Dida off guard at the near post, before sprinting to the corner flag. He looked utterly overwhelmed, burying his face in the turf, before being joined by his ecstatic teammates.
3. Derby day goals
Rooney has scored more goals in the Manchester derby than any other players. From the fantastic overhead kick to see us beat them in the run up to winning the title in 2011, to the 92nd minute winner to beat them in the 2010 League Cup semi-final, the equaliser at the Etihad in 2012 (before Van Persie’s injury time winner) or the strike in front of the away end when he was just 19. He’s scored 11 goals against the blues which is another piece of United’s history he will always be a part of.
2. Goodison Park – 2007
United were two goals down with half an hour left to play. John O’Shea pulls one back after Everton’s second choice keeper drops the ball (Tim Howard forced out because he was on loan from us), Phil Neville scores an own goal to equalise, before Rooney put us 3-2 up with 10 minutes left to play. Chris Eagles made it four. The majesty of the day was only emphasised by title rivals dropping points against Bolton.
Rooney was fantastic that day. The way he took his goal was as if United were already 3-0 up and had nothing to play for. Rooney took a minute to goad the Everton fans before running to the travelling United fans. One of the best days, if not the best day, of the past 15 years of watching United in the league and Rooney made it happen.
United went to Ewood Park in the penultimate game of the 2010-11 season knowing that a point was enough to win the title. After conceding an early goal, Rooney scored from the penalty spot with 15 minutes left to play. Having asked to leave the club earlier in the season, this was certainly him doing his bit to earn back the affections of the fans.
After the game, he was clearly delirious, knowing his goal had seen United overtake Liverpool’s 18 record title. He shaved ’19’ in to his chest hair and wrote on Twitter: “A scouser knocks Liverpool off their perch. Haha. An Evertonian as well. Yes. People. You can’t imagine how happy I am tonight. Believe.”