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The World Loves Rooney + West Brom Preview

… if said world is England. Suddenly the boy can do no wrong and he’s the darling of everyone concerned. Moreover, England is suddenly a world beater. Such hubris is not very difficult to build these days — at least sections of the English press never fail to disappoint in this regard.

But let us make no mistake here: Rooney has been excellent for England, and we saw flashes of his goal scoring form even for United. And, as a selfish United fan, that is my primary concern.

It’s no secret that Rooney has seemed better when his role has been more defined. When he’s not shunted out wide, and is given a more central role he gets far more out of his game offensively. The presence of Emile Heskey helped him immensely because of the way the Wigan striker selflessly linked with him. He may not score any goals from now on till the end of time, but his role in being the target man and allowing Rooney to flourish cannot be discounted.

Which is why I expect Rooney to get better for us in the presence of a better player in Berbatov. Today will be a test to see if he can translate his rich vein of England form for us. It’s also worth noting that Rooney was on a scoring streak early last season only to draw blanks as injury contributed to break his rhythm. If Rooney stays away from freak injuries (like tripping over stray training equipment) he could use this form to transform his season. Personally, I am a big fan of the Roon and I really want his talents to come to the fore now. It’s been far too long waiting. And I don’t want to sound like a scouser by saying ‘this is Rooney’s year’.

On Rooney Sir Alex had quite a few words to say in yesterday’s press conference:

It’s all to do with maturity. What we have noticed is that he goes on these scoring bursts and his form improves. That’s the way he’s been ever since he came to us, but you hope that by the time he gets to his mid-20s the greater experience will bring more consistency to his scoring and it will be better spread. We know he can score but it’s a matter of getting consistency. Maybe he’s got to get that thing experienced players have – like Gary Lineker, who never kicked a ball in some games and still scored two goals. When Wayne is in his mid-20s maybe he will score goals when he’s not playing particularly well, too. You just hope – as with all young players – that when they get to their mid-20s they are going to be the full article in terms of their authority, timing and decision-making, and how they live their lives.”

Indeed.

Moving on, we return to regular football — what a relief that must be for most of us — and we host West Bromwich Albion. It’s a game we ought to win comfortably if we are to continue our climb up the table. But games following the international break is always going to be tricky. Despite that, it’s the best possible game we could have asked for following a break, so we’ll have to win this. Simple as.

In team news, Rooney would partner Berbatov as a jet lagged Tevez takes a spot on the bench. There has been lot of rumours circulating about him, but due to my self imposed exile I couldn’t cover it on the blog. I hope to get to that in a few days. In defence, Brown, Rio, Vidic and Evra would take their customary positions in front of EVDS. The central midfield remains a question mark, as always. But I suppose it will be Fletcher and Giggs. Carrick is yet to reach full fitness, while Owen (Sa)Hargreaves continues to keep the physios busy. Ronaldo and Nani could take the wings IMO.

Predictions: 2-0 to United. Come on you reds!!!