MANCHESTER UNITED manager David Moyes has spoken of his pride at the way Wayne Rooney has transformed from the boy he knew at Everton into a leader at Old Trafford.
Few could have foreseen the 28-year-old playing such an important role for the Red Devils after a summer in which his future had looked in doubt.
However, after Chelsea's overtures were rebuffed, the England forward has knuckled down and on Saturday helped United to a 3-1 Premier League victory at Fulham – their fourth straight win in all competitions.
Rooney played a key part in the success at Craven Cottage, providing an assist, a goal and energy that allowed him to take hold of the match when the hosts threatened.
The striker appears to be blossoming under Moyes' tutelage – a far cry from their well-documented fractious relationship at Goodison Park.
"He is a big leader in the team and desperate for the team to be successful," the Scot said. "Obviously, having a successful team helps him as well.
"He has got leadership qualities. He is a man when he is on the pitch."
Rooney's assist and goal at Craven Cottage bookended a whirlwind 13 minutes in the first half.
Antonio Valencia opened the scoring from the forward's pull back, with Robin van Persie netting before Rooney struck – a ruthlessness often lacking at United this season.
"I think it has been coming in a way, and thankfully on Saturday we got them quite early on."
United are now slowly but surely quietening the naysayers, having gone unbeaten since losing at home to West Brom on September 28.
Michael Carrick, Jonny Evans and Rafael were not involved as the team trained prior to their Champions League trip to Real Sociedad.
Javier Hernandez sparked speculation over his future at the club yesterday by apparently retweeting a link to a story in which he was encouraged to leave Old Trafford.
Hernandez's verified Twitter account, @CH14–, posted a link to a story on a website in which his fellow Mexican Carlos Vela said he should look to leave United if he does not start playing moreregularly.
Meanwhile, Marouane Fellaini has called for retrospective action to be taken against Fulham defender Sacha Riether for his apparent stamp on his Manchester United teammate Adnan Januzaj at Craven Cottage. Riether was not punished for his actions by referee Lee Probert, which came late on in Fulham's 3-1 defeat to United.