Wayne Rooney playing against Manchester United for Derby County was undoubtedly a strange sight.
It seems only yesterday that Rooney was tearing up Old Trafford in the famous red jersey, not spending his weekends down in the Championship facing Luton Town and Barnsley.
Nevertheless, this week’s FA Cup fifth round fixture was an opportunity for Rooney to show the world what he still has in his boots at the top level.
In terms of the team, it wasn’t the result that Phillip Cocu’s side were after, suffering a 3-0 loss thanks to Odion Ighalo’s brace and a strike from Luke Shaw or Jesse Lingard depending on who you ask.
However, Rooney was one of the best players on the pitch for the Rams and by no means looked like a fish out of water against Premier League opposition.
Rooney reunited with Man Utd
It was, after all, only the second time that Rooney has faced a team from England’s top tier after completing his farewell season with Everton.
In fact, WhoScored.com awarded him a match rating of 6.78 which, albeit surpassed by the triumphant United side, was the second best for Derby behind right-back Jayden Bogle.
And despite finishing on the losing side, Rooney was the most creative player on the pitch having carved out five opportunities for his teammates.
Rooney’s individual highlights vs Man Utd
Combine that with 11 long passes completed from 15, an overall passing success rate of 88.4%, five recoveries, two shots on target (both from free-kicks) and you have yourself a decent display.
But we know as well as anybody that statistics only tell half the story, so YouTuber ‘DF11HD’ has done some of the legwork for us by compiling Rooney’s individual highlights from the game.
You can check out the full footage down below:
GIVEMESPORT’s Kobe Tong says
Let’s not beat around the bush, Rooney could still do a job in the Premier League.
Fans claiming that Rooney would make the United XI need to slow down a little bit – and perhaps shelve their Andreas Pereira voodoo doll – but he still stands above the Championship standard.
It really makes you wonder whether Rooney and Everton should have worked together a little longer because it’s not unfeasible to imagine him playing under Carlo Ancelotti right now.
But even if you think that’s a little ambitious, don’t pretend as though clubs like West Ham or Aston Villa couldn’t seriously benefit from having Rooney in their midfield right now.
The former England captain seems to really be thriving from playing in a deeper role and some of the diagonal passes he’s spraying about the pitch are borderline world-class.
Everything aside, though, we should just be thankful as football fans that Rooney delivered what could be his final ever great performance in front of United fans.
- Rooney’s ridiculous pass in Derby 0-3 Man Utd
- Man Utd fans’ Rooney chant during Derby win
- Video of Rooney being ‘too good for the Championship’