Wayne Rooney: Just How Much Better Is He Under David Moyes at United?
After Wednesday's narrow victory over Real Sociedad kept Manchester United at the head of their Champions League group, Wayne Rooney was again hailed as instrumental.
It's been a remarkable start to the 2013/14 campaign for the England international, both at domestic and international level. Rooney passionately claimed after the game—per BBC Sport—that playing under Moyes has given him a new lease of life:
I'm happy under the new manager
The new coach that has come in [and has given me] a new lease of life. I'm really enjoy working under David Moyes.
Indeed, that will be music to Moyes' ears. Putting aside his previously traumatic relationship with Rooney, Moyes was in desperate need of some public backing from a key player after a difficult start to life at Old Trafford.
But just how important has Rooney been to United this year—and how much better has he been in contrast to last campaign?
By first of all looking at his stats in the Champions League, then the answer to both those questions is "very."
Two goals in the two games played naturally represent a positive start to the European campaign—especially for a man who is not playing in the role of recognized striker. There is much more to back up the claims that Rooney has been United's key man this year, though.
Rooney ranks sixth on WhoScored.com's player rankings across the whole competition—ahead of the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He also boasts a superb pass accuracy of 88.1 percent—way better than Lionel Messi (80.3 percent) and Cristiano Ronaldo (85.4 percent). Pretty impressive for an attacking midfielder.
Rooney is way out in front on Squawka's performance scoring among his Manchester United teammates, with 172. The closest is Antonio Valencia on 92.
Six chances created in two games—again, via Squawka—is also a positive return for the new and improved midfielder. One of those came as an assist too, and it is yet another stat that he leads among his United teammates. Valencia also has six, but he has played every minute of United's group campaign so far.
Then there is the Premier League.
In a difficult start to the league campaign for United, Rooney's performances have provided a glimmer of hope that David Moyes can make a success of things with the English champions. Only Robin van Persie has more goals than Rooney—three in six starts for the 28-year-old is a good return.
Have you been won over by the new Rooney?
It is again in the chances created where Rooney excels though. Once again, no United player has made more chances than the England international, with 11 notched up.
By asking for a transfer last season, Rooney could have been forgiven for wanting an easy way out of Manchester United. However, even with the likes of Robin van Persie in the side, Rooney remains United's—and England's—most important and indispensable asset.
If he continues his sparkling form for the remainder of the season, then it is incredibly hard to imagine a title race without Manchester United involved.
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