Wayne Rooney leads way in FA Cup win: Focus on Manchester United skipper
Published 29/01/2016 | 22:19
Wayne Rooney has enjoyed a timely return to form as the Manchester United man looks to lead an upturn in results at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils skipper scored the last-gasp penalty which saw United squeak past Sheffield United in round three of the FA Cup and opened the scoring as they beat Derby 3-1 at the iPro Stadium for a place in round five.
Here, Press Association Sport's Mark Bryans looks at how the forward fared against the Sky Bet Championship promotion hopefuls.
Early drive was blocked but soon showed his current levels of confidence by curling a shot past the dive of Derby goalkeeper Scot Carson too open the scoring with 16 minutes played.
Showed some signs of frustration as early as the 12th minute after misplacing a pass but has arguably stepped up as a leader of this team when it needed him most.
Chased and harassed in his usual manner and, now he has added the goal touch back to his blood and thunder approach, he is looking something near his best.
Laid on a decent chance for Anthony Martial in the opening minutes and was happy to spray the ball around the park when others in red settled for the simple, sideways passes which have become so synonymous with Louis van Gaal's reign.
Seems happier to lead the line now but still did all that was asked of him and more from a defensive perspective.
While the near 5,500 travelling United fans spent much of the night singing about former players such as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, George Best, Cristiano Ronaldo and the recently-retired Nemanja Vidic, Rooney was one of the current crop to be cheered and serenaded by his supporters.
A shadow of his apparent former self for the past few months, Rooney has hit a purple-patch just when United needed him to.
He was instrumental in this well-deserved win, especially in a first half largely dominated by the visitors. If Van Gaal's future remains in the balance, the continued form of his skipper could tip it in his favour.