United’s win over a surprisingly average Schalke side shouldn’t be taken for granted, after all I remember having similar confidences over German opponents in previous semi finals.
While it could be argued that The Reds were fortunate enough to face the weakest of the three other teams left in the competition nothing should detract from what was -despite some wasteful finishing- a stunning team performance arguably as good as any I’ve witnessed from United this season.
It seems unfair to single out any one player as there were arguably at least six contenders for man of the match, for me it was the latest United star to join the ‘twitfam’ who delivered yet another awesome display.
Wayne Rooney – or Wazzaroon08 as he now likes to be known, was yet again immense in a deep lying role that often required more than just feeding Chicharito- or Giggs- through balls. Rooney spread the play around with 50 yard pin point accurate passes, scored one, set up another and was even willing to come into his own half to get hold of the ball and was always willing to attack the space and carry it when he had possession.
It seems last night is just the latest in a string of performances by the Scouse striker that have come at just the right time for United. Not only has Rooney been scoring more freely of late but he seems to have become arguably the most influential player on the pitch, something that was sorely lacking a few months ago.
The thing about Rooney and his so-called ‘barren spell’ where he didn’t score from open play for over 5 years is that even during that dark time, he still gave fans something to admire in his performances – if not quite enough to adore.
Rooney’s determination and willingness is a commendable trait that he’s always shown, yet it would take more than that for many fans to put the whole contract debacle behind them.
Wazza’s reticence in signing a new contract and the quite frankly absurd reasons he gave for not doing so made him public enemy number one to many fans, a Judas Iscariot or even worse Carlos Tevez mk II.
There were boos- although Sir Alex Ferguson played a masterstroke by introducing him back into the United side after the whole saga as a substitute at the same time as Paul Scholes, ensuring there wouldn’t be too much jeering. There was the usual vitriol from the social networks, with many claiming they would NEVER forgive Rooney no matter what he did and how many goals he scored.
Since that fateful re-introduction several months ago, we’ve seen Rooney take small steps to ingratiate him back with many of the United faithful. There was the penalty against Rangers, the derby winner, the hat-trick against West Ham and the performances against Chelsea.
Now having helped put United just one 90 minute home game away from Wembley are there any fans out there that still hold a grudge?
I’m not saying Rooney didn’t deserve a certain level of contempt from United fans, after all he put us through two days of sickening worry, with some feeling so passionate about it they even took a trip to his caravan site in Salford to try and convince him to stay- or wherever it is he lives.
I wrote several articles at the time pointing out the contradictions of Rooney’s statement and how the club needed to convince him to stay. He may have been out of order but he was a player who’s talents couldn’t be replaced as easily as some claimed.
My own thoughts on his behaviour were ones of disappointment rather than rage, and the solemn promise that as long as he wore the Red of United I’d be behind him- although if he did leave, then he couldn’t expect a heroes welcome or even grudging respect whenever he returned to play against us.
The fact is he did stay and after a somewhat indifferent time, performance wise, now seems to have reached top gear at just the right time, reveling in his new found freedom playing a deeper role while much of the goal burden is carried with ease by a certain adorable Mexican.
I’m not saying playing well, should mean Rooney can be totally forgiven for his foolishness- I see it as that rather than anything more malicious- but it seems more and more fans are now looking at him with the same rose tinted glasses we were this exact time last year.
When he’s not tweeting fans and visiting sick kids, he’s scoring crucial goals. The question is has he fully redeemed himself in the eyes of those that really matter? I for one think he may have done just that.
Half baked drivel? Or an honest assessment of what’s really happening? Feel free to comment or abuse below: