Not too long ago, Manchester United was rated as a one-man team, the "one-man" being Wayne Rooney. And very frankly, not many could disagree.
Ever since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez, Rooney had almost single handedly kept Manchester United in the hunt for European and domestic glory. While United kept up their performances at the domestic level, their European campaigns showed that football can never be a one-man game.
Cut to February 2013. United have last year's top scorer of the league amongst their ranks, who has showed yet again that last season wasn't a fluke. It wasn't a season where just about everything seemed to go in.
Robin Van Persie has been nothing short of a revelation at Old Trafford. The fans love him, and so do the media. And he has been ably supported by two young strikers who have been working their socks off in every single game they play, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez. Not to forget a resurgent Patrice Evra, a fit-again Vidic, an ever-improving David De Gea and a consistent Michael Carrick.
While RVP is the man of the moment, Rooney - who has had his share of injuries this season - has silently slipped into the team now that he is fit. And the surprising thing is that the very same footballer who everyone thought was United's talisman up to last year, has gone unnoticed.
Apparently, 10 league goals in 18 appearances doesn't seem to impress anyone anymore, given the astonishing scoring rates of the Ronaldos, the Messis and the RVPs of the world. While it may be under-par for a striker of Rooney's quality, no one can deny what he brings to the table.
United's play has often been one dimensional this season (read: pass to RVP, and wait for him to score). But with Rooney in the team, United have had the capability to adapt to any situation on the pitch. The ball seems to be moving better in the opponent's half, more players seem to be coming into play and goals have been going in at the same time.
Given the current situation, United would need Rooney to stay fit until the end of the season, especially if they harbour any hope to win the treble. Will Rooney mind not being in the spotlight? I don't think so. After all, even Master Wayne from Batman never wanted the spotlight on him.
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