Wayne Rooney Must Rediscover Aggression to Bring Glory Back to Manchester United

Stuart NewmanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2014

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney applauds supporters as he walks from the pitch after his team's 2-1 loss to Tottenham in their English Premier League soccer match at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Wednesday Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

Arriving on the scene as a talented 16-year-old with a natural head of hair, Wayne Rooney had the kind of fire in his belly that would make even the fiercest of defenders back out of a 50/50.

Occasionally, the boy wonder would take things too far and get himself into trouble, but that's exactly the kind of bulldog spirit that Manchester United are seriously lacking this season, a spirit I feel they desperately need their striker to restore.

That's not to say that United need their star man to be sent off every couple of games, of course, but they do need Rooney to show the kind of hunger and desire that he displayed as a youngster to get back on track and get the fans back behind the team.

As wonderful a player as Wayne Rooney is, the way that he's operated in a United shirt this season appears to be more of a "must" than a "want."

Whether that's because of the Fergie factor disappearing, the continual transfer speculation linking him away from Old Trafford or being played out of position, I don't know. But I do know that United miss the striker who would sprint the length of the pitch just to put in a crunching tackle on an opponent. 

Fans wins games; we've seen it time and time again. Every team in Bleacher Report's ranking of the loudest stadiums in world football has been a domestic league and cup champion on multiple occasions—that's no coincidence. The 12th man really does give teams a distinct advantage all over the world, but at Old Trafford this season that man has had duct tape firmly placed over his mouth.  

What used to happen when United went a goal down at home? Would you hear the away fans? No. There would be a chorus of "United, United, United" ringing out around the ground. 

PORTSMOUTH, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 25:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United gets tackled by Sol Cambell of Portsmouth during the Barclays Premier League match between Portsmouth and Manchester United at Fratton Park on August 25, 2008 in Portsmouth, Englan
Phil Cole/Getty Images

That support in itself is admirable, but it's disappeared along with the belief that the current United team are really playing for the shirt. But in Wayne Rooney, United have a player who can restore such belief, and by showing his aggression and hunger to fire the Red Devils up the table he'll bring the team up with him. 

Rooney has netted 208 times in all competitions in his United career and has scored 11 goals in this on-off campaign, though he remains one of the best English players to ever play the game. If David Moyes can restore Rooney's freedom to roam and dictate play for his team, then there's no reason why this "disaster" campaign can't be turned around.

The simplest of things get the crowd and your teammates fired up, and considering Rooney's commanding influence on the pitch, he's the man to do the job for United.

Let's see more running back and working for the team, let's see more geeing up the crowd and let's see more of the old Wayne Rooney and Manchester United.