Despite coming under scrutiny in his early stages as Manchester United manager, David Moyes' work behind the scenes to re-energise a lacklustre Wayne Rooney is now paying dividends for the Red Devils and deserves immense credit.

The 28-year-old's messy relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of last season had pointed towards an Old Trafford exit, and it had looked a foregone conclusion after it became clear from Ferguson that Rooney had handed in a transfer request.

An allegation which has since been revoked by the Scot, although the 71-year old was clear to maintain Rooney's ambition to leave the club.

After Chelsea put in a series of bids for the England international, it looked certain Rooney was to leave United, ending a nine-year Old Trafford career.

However, under new management, Moyes somehow managed to turn Rooney's head and refocus the forward's attention back to getting back to his best in a United kit.

Whatever Moyes said, or did, it has clearly been working this season, with Rooney's performances leaving United fans purring.

Rooney has hit the ground running this season, scoring eight goals and assisting a further 10 goals for his side.

The 28-year old played a massive part in Moyes' side that progressed through to the last 16 of the European Champions League, thanks to a 5-0 thrashing away to Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday.

Moyes claimed the 5-0 victory was the side's best performance since taking over as manager at the start of the season, and it was largely due to another outstanding performance from Rooney.

The England forward played a part in four of United's five goals, with his special free-kick setting up the Red Devils' second a particular highlight of the night.

What is clear from Rooney is he looks to be enjoying his football under Moyes, as if a huge weight (Sir Alex Ferguson) has been lifted off his shoulders, looking ever more like that eager 16-year old that broke out into the Everton first-team.

People were critical of Moyes' business in the transfer window, failing to land several marquee targets and instead concluding with £27.5m Marounane Fellaini, who is still attempting to find his feet at Old Trafford.

But what Moyes hasn't been praised for enough, is his handling of the Rooney saga, how he actually managed to keep him at United.

What if Rooney had ended up at Chelsea? Jose Mourinho's side would have been seven points clear at this stage, instead they are only three points above United.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Manchester United
Wayne Rooney