A real turnaround for Rooney

Wayne Rooney’s focus will soon switch from club to country and he is picking the perfect time to find his form with the World Cup in Brazil less than three months away.

On an afternoon when the goals flowed freely in the English Premier League, Liverpool and Cardiff played out a nine-goal treat and Arsene Wenger’s 1,000th game ended in a 6-0 loss to Chelsea it was going to take something special to become the talking point of the night.

Step forward Wayne Rooney.

Just eight minutes into Manchester United’s tea-time trip to Upton Park the England striker brushed off James Tomkins 50 yards from goal and, seeing Hammers goalkeeper Adrian off his line, proceeded to thump a volley over the Spaniard’s head and leave the nation debating whether that stunner topped David Beckham’s long-range strike against Wimbledon 18 years ago.

Rooney would add a second as his side eased to a 2-0 victory, leaving boss David Moyes purring.

“His form throughout the season has been very good and his goal against West Ham capped it all off,” the Scot said. “He has a real appetite back again. He showed what he is about. He has a big energy back again.

“Everyone who knew Wayne Rooney from old in his early days would say one of the biggest things was that he had big energy and a big heart.”

As well as netting a goal of the season contender, Rooney was also captain at Upton Park — sparking talk of the Englishman as a potential future skipper at Old Trafford.

Reunited with the manager who gave him his big break at Goodison Park, Rooney is undoubtedly seen as the key player in Moyes’ rebuilding job.

With long-term skipper Nemanja Vidic heading to Inter Milan this summer the armband is up for grabs and Rooney looks well placed to be given the nod next season with a lack of genuine contenders in the current squad.

To be leading United out come August would cap a real turnaround for a player who looked to have one foot out of the door when Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement in May. The Scot claimed in the aftermath of their title celebrations that Rooney had handed in a transfer request and a summer of unrest duly followed.

At times it looked like he would be heading to Stamford Bridge or making the move abroad but fast-forward 10 months he has signed a bumper contract and is the main man at Old Trafford.

That double in the East end took his tally to 212 for United and saw him leapfrog Jack Rowley into third in the club’s all-time top scorers list behind legends Denis Law and Sir Bobby Charlton on 237 and 249 respectively. With his long-term future surely with the Red Devils, it is hard to see Rooney failing to become the club’s greatest scorer in the coming years.

That 3-0 win means United remain in the Champions League and with Rooney finding his groove there is still plenty of time to add to his tally of goals (17) in the coming weeks.

Rooney’s focus will soon switch from club to country and he is picking the perfect time to find his form with the World Cup in Brazil less than three months away.

Despite having netted 38 goals in close to 100 caps for England, Rooney is yet to really light up a major tournament since breaking on to the scene as a Toffee back at EURO 2004.

Injuries and suspensions have meant the goals he found so easy to come by during qualification campaigns have dried up at the World Cups and EUROs but he will be named in Roy Hodgson’s squad having netted nine times in his last 11 games for the Three Lions.

What the English public would do for a few more stunning strikes come June.

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