David Moyes Is Making Wayne Rooney Feel Loved Again at Manchester United
Rooney's rehabilitation as a United player began in earnest against Crystal Palace at the weekend.
It was his first game since the transfer window closed, the possibility of a move to Chelsea now on ice until at least January.
And he began to rebuild his relationship with the fans with a free-kick that curled into the net in the 81st minute to guarantee United's first home win of the season.
It put a sheen on the 27-year-old's display that was less than impressive up until then.
The lack of match practice was evident after sitting out games for club and country because of a deep gash on his head.
His touch was rusty as well, but that will return with his fitness.
Importantly for Moyes, however, it was where rather than how he played that was significant.
He was deployed up front with Robin van Persie but allowed to roam in the hole behind whenever he saw it fit.
And that, insisted Moyes afterwards, will be his role this season.
Last season, Sir Alex Ferguson was fond of talking up Rooney's qualities as a central midfielder.
The pass for van Persie's title-winning volley against Aston Villa is proof that it's not an outrageous suggestion.
But Rooney is no midfielder.
His touch and range of passing mean he can do a job there without looking out of his depth.
But Ferguson's eagerness to use him a makeshift midfielder said more about his lack of options in the position rather than Rooney's suitability to the role.
It looked a lot like Sir Alex was forcing square pegs into round holes.
But Moyes has put a stop to it. And with it, he's started to play his part in making Rooney feel loved again.
Rooney has never been very good at hiding his feelings.
He couldn't do it when he broke into Everton's team at 16, and he struggles with it now.
Moyes will know better than most that a happy Rooney has a better chance of playing well and scoring goals.
A summer of turmoil, claim and counter-claim is now behind him, and his new manager views him as a first-team regular in his favourite position.
The fans have done their part with their (mostly) unwavering support. Moyes, too, is doing his bit.
Now it's Rooney's turn to repay the debt in goals.
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