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Rooney's redemption

Friday 18 February 2011, 11:08PM


Wayne Rooney dedicated his wonder goal this week to Manchester United fans and said it was the least they deserved after what he put them through.

Rooney hailed his sensational overhead kick, which gave United a 2-1 win this week over local rivals Manchester City, as the finest goal of his career.

And after a season in which he has scored just six goals and threatened to walk out on United before eventually signing a new deal, Rooney admitted he owed the fans something special.

"It was a special feeling for the United fans because they deserved that from me," said Rooney.

After his unseemly contract stand-off with United was eventually resolved last October, Rooney admitted he faced a fight to win back the trust and support of the club’s fans.

And although there are many who still find it hard to forgive his perceived disloyalty, Rooney knows his stunning strike was a massive step on the road to redemption.

"To get that goal and see the joy in the crowd, amongst the players, management and staff, was a fantastic moment," said Rooney. "I scored one like that in school, but not professionally.

"It was always going in and it’s definitely the best goal I’ve ever scored.

Sir Alex Ferguson cut through the euphoria by demanding his star striker raise his game away from home.

"What we need to get is performances like those away from home," said Fergie.

It was typical Fergie. While the rest of the world was eulogising over Rooney’s early contender for Goal of the Decade, the United boss was demanding more from his front men.

For as Rooney himself admitted, up until his moment of magic he had been a peripheral figure – full of commitment, but lacking the sharpness and cutting edge to make any kind of impact.

But any criticism of another laboured, below-par Rooney display was dispelled the moment he hoisted himself into the air to execute the goal of a lifetime.

The 75,322 punters present at Old Trafford are unlikely to ever witness a better goal.

Despite his demand for more from Rooney, Fergie did marvel at the brilliance of his strike, hailing it as the best he had seen in the Theatre of Dreams in a quarter of a century in charge of United.

"I don’t think I’ve seen a better goal at Old Trafford.

"In terms of execution, you will never see better. It was absolutely stunning."

Rooney’s sublime strike all but ended City’s slim title hopes and kept United on course for a record-breaking 19th title triumph.

 

 

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