Manchester United vs. Chelsea: Wayne Rooney Can Save Reds Career with Big Game

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 02:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United scores to make it 4-0 during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Norwich City at Old Trafford on March 2, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Wayne Rooney can save his Manchester United career with a huge performance in Monday night’s clash with Chelsea.

Old Trafford awaits the return of an individual who is expected to be the subject of a third Chelsea bid after the game, as reported by Adam Crafton of the Daily Mail. A summer of frustration has seen Rooney and United fans drift apart, but the damage can be instantly repaired if the English forward inspires David Moyes’ men to their second win of the Premier League season.

As reported by Mark Ogden of The Telegraph, the new boss confirmed Rooney is in his plans for the early season showdown. United suffered a 1-0 loss to the Blues in the corresponding fixture last campaign and need to grab three points if they are to maintain pace with Jose Mourinho’s crammed squad.

Interestingly, it was the last Premier League visit of Chelsea that saw speculation surrounding Rooney's future intensify. Sir Alex Ferguson benched him for the game, much like the Champions League battle with Real Madrid, adding fuel to a fire that would quickly grow out of control.

The champions have a horrific run of games coming up. Two of the three encounters after Chelsea are away trips to Liverpool and Manchester City, indicating just how important Monday’s battle will be to the club’s hopes of establishing a run of form.

This is a time for vital players to put on big performances and match-winning displays for Moyes, who faces a baptism of fire during his first Premier League home game in charge of the champions.

While Danny Welbeck’s recent form has rightly received a number of plaudits, most of Monday's focus will be on Rooney's actions. Whether he plays or not, you can bet the world’s media will monitor his every move. Did he just look toward the Chelsea bench? He is obviously working out where to sit next season.

Joking aside, the only way Rooney can overcome such reports is by putting in a game-changing shift for the Red Devils. He’s a player who offers United their greatest physical outlet across the pitch and is always ready to carry out defensive duties before roaming up the field to attack.

On top form, he has the ability to dictate the pace of play and halt the opposition from gaining momentum with his calm assurance in possession. Against the bombing ranks of Chelsea’s attack, this could be vital.

Rooney doesn’t need to score in order to endear himself to the United faithful. He won’t be labelled a failure if he doesn’t bicycle kick a winner into the top corner and shouldn’t be deemed unneeded if he does start on the bench.

The 27-year-old just needs to show a commitment to United’s cause against the Blues. He needs to continuously hassle the opposition, ceaselessly work to receive the ball and display a tireless drive to secure victory.

This kind of determination has the ability to work miracles at Old Trafford. Although he could be subject to a mixed reaction from United fans, any boos will soon disappear if Rooney plays with the urgency to impress. In a summer of transfer disappointments for Moyes, his No. 10 has the ability to feel like a new signing if he decides a United future is worth fighting for.

Monday’s game could be Rooney’s last at Old Trafford as a Manchester United player. It could also be the moment his Red Devils career is given a new lease of life. A positive performance and reception may be the difference between Rooney heading to Stamford Bridge or becoming United’s all-time top scorer.

While margins are quite often fine in football, any hope of Rooney’s United revival must start with the player himself. If his shoulders don’t slump and the home side capture victory, Moyes’ tenure may be rejuvenated with the reappearance of an old star.