Rusty Rooney fails to spark

Paul Hyland

HAS Wayne Rooney misplaced his mojo? Alex Ferguson's golden ticket is firing blanks and looks only half the player he was this time last year.

Despite kid glove treatment from the Old Trafford physio team and special measures taken to knock him back into shape in America, Rooney's form remained stubbornly poor against Rangers in Champions League action last night.

His first goal since the end of August and only his second of the season in all competitions from the penalty spot was the only bright moment in a sub-par 90 minutes for Rooney and Manchester United at Ibrox, although the win sealed qualification for the knockout phase.

After he scored, Rooney ran straight to the Manchester United section of the ground to celebrate with travelling supporters.

"There are no issues with the fans at all. Every time he scores he weds himself to the fans and the players and it's taken a lot of courage to take that penalty kick. I don't think he's ever been short of that - and it was a fantastic penalty," claimed Ferguson.

"He's not had an easy night, he's missed a couple of chances but that's what we expected. He's rusty, he needs games but it's a start for him. We need him to keep playing 90 minutes and that will continue now."