Saturday 3 December 2016

Plenty of sentiment but no goals at Wayne Rooney's Manchester United testimonial

Manchester United 0 Everton 0

Published 03/08/2016 | 22:37

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney applauds the fans at the end of his testimonial at Old Trafford. Getty Images
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney applauds the fans at the end of his testimonial at Old Trafford. Getty Images

Wayne Rooney was the star attraction as Manchester United and Jose Mourinho continued their pre-season preparations with a goalless draw against Everton.

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United and England captain Rooney played 52 minutes at Old Trafford as his testimonial against his former club doubled up as a stern Premier League warm-up.

Rooney got the chance to play alongside new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic in a promising attacking formation that also featured Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial. The front pair linked well, with Ibrahimovic often dropping deep.

"I said many years ago the perfect partner for a striker is Wayne Rooney," said Swede Ibrahimovic in an interview aired before the game by MUTV. "He works not only for himself but for the striker and the whole team. I'm absolutely happy to be one of the guys beside him."

Seeing them together was certainly a tantalising prospect for the fans but, despite some fluid moves, chances were few and far between.

The work of new manager Mourinho may take some time to bear fruit at United. Attention will now turn to preparations for Sunday's Community Shield against Leicester and - presumably - the pursuit of Paul Pogba.

When or if a deal for Pogba, heavily linked with a world record £100million return to United from Juventus, materialises remains to be seen.

For now United are a work in progress under Mourinho. There was little to excite other than the promise of the forward line and the return to action of a rejuvenated Luke Shaw, but nor did Everton expose many weaknesses.

Ross Barkley tested David de Gea and Romelu Lukaku headed a gilt-edged chance wide, while Shaw saw an effort deflected past the post and Ibrahimovic shot at new Toffees goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg.

In the second half, former Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini headed at Joel Robles.

Other than that it was a chance for fans to pay tribute to Rooney, who was donating all proceeds from the fixture to charities.

Rooney joined United from Everton 12 years ago and has since scored 245 goals for the club. He will equal the club best of Sir Bobby Charlton - whose England record he has already taken - with just four more.

"While I cannot deny it is disappointing I will no longer hold either honour, it was always going to happen one day and I am glad they will belong to Wayne," said Charlton in the programme.

There were plenty more tributes to Rooney in the matchday magazine, including from Mourinho and former managers Sir Alex Ferguson, David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.

"I am sure he will provide many more memorable moments for United in the coming years," said Mourinho.

Rooney himself spoke briefly at full-time, saying: "I have spent 12 seasons here and had a lot of success, and there's hopefully a lot more to come."

Mourinho stuck by his plan to use 22 players, making six substitutions at half-time and the rest as the game wore on. Bastian Schweinsteiger, whose United future is uncertain, was conspicuous by his complete absence from the teamsheet.

New Everton boss Ronald Koeman also made a host of changes, including one enforced by injury when Muhamed Besic hobbled off.

Press Association

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