Bayern Decider a Chance for Man United's Wayne Rooney to Prove He's World Class

Rob DawsonManchester United CorrespondentApril 8, 2014

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 08:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United looks on during a training session at Aon Training Complex on April 8, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The stage is set for Wayne Rooney.

Manchester United will line up in the Allianz Arena on Wednesday with a chance to do what very few thought possible—knock holders Bayern Munich out of the Champions League.

It's perhaps not David versus Goliath. Maybe Goliath versus another Goliath who hasn't been quite himself this season.

Like all potential heroes, Rooney will have to overcome adversity even before the final act starts. Some slay dragons, others have a pain-killing injection in a troublesome toe.

The England striker trained with his team-mates at Carrington on Tuesday before flying to Munich where his manager, David Moyes, gave reporters a broad hint that Rooney will play.

He is able to train and is massively keen to be involved. 

He’s not trained all week so we need to be wary of that. But he is ready to take an injection which shows you his feeling for the game and the club,

We take advice from our doctors. Everybody knows the character Wayne is and the kind of player he is. 

He is determined to play and if he is determined we would be mad not to play him. But we’ve not had clarification on the injury yet.

It is a night when United will need their best players. The type of occasion when Rooney will be expected to earn his £300k-a-week.

He has won nearly every trophy there is to win, including this one. 

He has scored some spectacular goals and will almost certainly end his career at Old Trafford as the club's greatest goalscorer.

But he has always been on the periphery of United's greatest triumphs. Sometimes he's been sacrificed for the good of the team. Other times, he's not been at his best on that important night.

But in Munich on Wednesday, he has the chance to put that right.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 01:  Bastian Schweinsteiger of Bayern Muenchen argues with Wayne Rooney of Manchester United after he received a red card during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between Manchester United and FC Bayern Mu
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

He has already grown up a lot this season. 

As a senior player, he has taken it upon himself to speak for the team after some damaging defeats.

The old Rooney would have raced through the mixed zone after results like that. But the more mature Rooney often fronts up, even in the face of some difficult questions.

Joey Barton said this week that Rooney—that no England player, in fact—is world class. 

Pep Guardiola, for one, told reporters he disagrees. And he should know after taking charge of Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Philipp Lahm and Franck Ribery. As an aside, the Bayern coach is also convinced he'll play:

Rooney is going to play, 100 per cent. He is going to play. I bet you a big big glass of beer.

He's a big player, one of the best I have seen in my career.

Guardiola will hope he doesn't, but Wednesday night is a chance for Rooney to prove the Spaniard right.

Without the injured Robin van Persie and the cup-tied Juan Mata, Rooney will be United's main attacking threat against Bayern. 

United need to score to stand any chance of going through and, as the central striker in Moyes' system, the responsibility will fall on him.

Battling against the odds, it is a night when United will need a hero.

The stage is set.