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Analyzing Wayne Rooney's 2-Goal, 1-Assist Performance vs. Bayer Leverkusen

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United celebrates scoring his team's third goal during the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Manchester United and Bayer Leverkusen at Old Trafford on September 17, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images
Joseph ZuckerFeatured Columnist IVOctober 30, 2016

Wayne Rooney made history with his second goal in Manchester United's romp of Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old became just the fourth United player ever to score 200 goals for the club, per ESPN's Paul Carr.

The first goal came in the 22nd minute when he got on the end of a Patrice Evra cross. It was a good display of Rooney's predatory instincts. He was lurking around unmarked in the box, then pounced on the cross and drove the shot into the ground to fool Leverkusen keeper Bernd Leno.

The second came in the 70th minute off a defensive mistake by the German side. Leverkusen couldn't handle the long pass by David de Gea, and it eventually bounced right in Rooney's path. He calmly ran at goal and slotted a low shot into the back of the net.

Rooney also assisted on Antonio Valencia's goal in the 79th minute, delivering a crisp pass a few yards ahead of an on-rushing Valencia, who smashed a low shot past Leno.

It was an especially impressive performance, given the striker is still recovering from the head injury he suffered a couple of weeks ago. He wore a headband during the match, but you'd have to believe it was bothering him at times.

Although he missed a sitter that led to a Simon Rolfes goal, you could find little to criticize in Rooney's performance. He was at his predatory best, with the two goals, and he was able to read the game and find Valencia for the goal.

Much has been made of how United need a midfielder to connect the midfield to the attack. Matches like these demonstrate that if he's willing to play midfield, Rooney can be that perfect link. He possesses the skill set and vision to slot right in as a CAM each and every week, leaving Robin van Persie to handle the strike duties.   

Rooney's individual performance has to be encouraging for United supporters, following his very public push to leave the club a few months ago. Against Leverkusen, fans saw nothing but professionalism and a desire to win from the player. He seems to have moved on and is now 100 percent committed to Manchester United.

David Moyes continues to look all the more shrewd for refusing to let Rooney leave for Chelsea during the summer transfer window.

When he's at his best, there are few strikers in the world who are the combination of poacher/playmaker that Rooney is. He can sit in the box and wait on chances, or he can play a little deeper and look to be more of a creator.

This match was the total Wayne Rooney package.

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