In my opinion, it was up there with the partnerships of Gary Lineker and Peter Beardsley and Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham.
But at the moment, it’s about Wayne Rooney, and Michael isn’t getting the goals to change that. – The Telegraph FORGET last weekend’s emphatic scoreline and Manchester United’s ascent to the summit of the Premier League. This was, after all, an FA Cup weekend when United’s title rivals were otherwise engaged.
Regardless of the ruthless dismantling of Hull City, when the outcome of this season is decided, it will be Alex Ferguson’s management of the three ‘Rs’ – Rooney, Rio and rebellion – that will ultimately define whether the 2009-10 campaign is viewed as the one during which Manchester United made history for all the right reasons by claiming an unprecedented fourth successive championship.
Last Saturday, as Hull were brushed aside by Rooney’s first four-goal display as a professional, there was little to separate the England forward’s impact from that of the returning Rio Ferdinand and the mutinous air within the stadium.
Rooney’s performance quite rightly topped the bill, but the presence of Ferdinand at the heart of United’s back four, three months after succumbing to a persistent back injury, did not go unnoticed.
Yet neither did the discord on the Stretford End which, by the end of the game, had spread to Old Trafford’s more restrained sections.
Despite Ferguson’s pre-match call for unity in his programme notes, prompted by growing supporter anger towards the club’s owners, the Glazer family, his pleas fell on deaf ears.
Blunt chants about the Glazers, whose £500 million bond issue aimed at alleviating United’s £716.5 million debt has proved successful, were as prevalent as the greenand-gold scarves and shirts – the colours of United’s forerunner, Newton Heath – worn by supporters as a symbol of their antipathy towards the Americans.
On the issue of the club’s financial situation, it is clear that Ferguson and a vocal section of the club’s supporters hold conflicting opinions, but while the fans made their point, Ferguson’s players made the manager’s for him by swatting the revolt aside to take care of business on the pitch.
Rooney and Ferdinand were the architects of United’s victory, but they were impressively assisted by the much-maligned Portuguese winger, Nani, and Michael Owen, making only his fifth start of the season, whose linkplay with Rooney suggested that Ferguson might need to rethink his theory that the two forwards are incompatible.
Owen’s presence created space for Rooney and relieved the goalscoring burden on the 24-year-old.
They have seen off better defenders than Hull’s Paul McShane and Anthony Gardner in their time and it showed.
Phil Brown, the Hull manager, said: “It would be great to manage Wayne Rooney. The lad just wants to play football and he has that boyish enthusiasm that you want from every player.