Manchester United's Wayne Rooney Deserves Credit for Chelsea Display

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Manchester United's Wayne Rooney Deserves Credit for Chelsea Display
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Wayne Rooney has never gotten much credit for his behaviour.

Ever since he was a schoolboy, everyone knew he was going to be a fantastic footballer. When he was 16 and he broke into the Everton first team, he began living up to the hype.

But whether he's on the pitch or off it, he's often been accused of making some questionable decisions.

But those who tuned in to watch United play Chelsea on Monday night hoping to see another Rooney meltdown will have been disappointed.

It was a brave decision for David Moyes to include Rooney from the start at Old Trafford.

He could have kept faith with the same team that battered Swansea a week before and left Rooney on the bench. Alternatively, he could have left him out of the squad completely.

But he threw him in and was rewarded with a performance of great maturity.

It wasn't a display that will make Rooney's "best-of" video, but he was a willing runner all night and always keen to get on the ball.

In the circumstances, Moyes can consider it a win.

It was a perhaps a poor reflection on the game, but Rooney was one of the better players on show. He created the best chance of the night for Danny Welbeck and tested Petr Cech with two long-range drives.

All the while, the Chelsea fans tucked away in the corner of Old Trafford chanted "Rooney, Rooney" and sang "Wayne Rooney, we'll see you next week."

But Moyes has insisted repeatedly that Rooney won't go anywhere before next week's transfer deadline.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

It's clear that he doesn't want the England striker to boost a rival's title challenge, but more than that, Rooney showed why he's needed at Old Trafford.

Robin van Persie and Welbeck started the season as the strikers in form.

But on a night that was more about hard graft than craft and guile, Rooney stood out.

Jose Mourinho is starting to look like a man resigned to missing out on his top summer transfer target, but even he could only find complimentary words afterward.

"Do you want me to tell you what for me is the most important thing?" he asked rhetorically in his post-match press conference, per Sam Wallace of The Independent. "It is that he played very well [against Chelsea]. He was a real professional, playing for his club, playing for the club that pays him. He tried to win, Tried to score. He was fantastic."

Moyes' selection against Chelsea was a sign that he trusts Rooney to play a key role for him this season. Rooney's performance was evidence that he might yet be willing to.

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