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United’s newfound leader

Fulham-v-Manchester-United-Premier-League-2669465After a summer during which he seemed destined to leave Old Trafford, Wayne Rooney has enjoyed a remarkable turnaround of form, enjoying his best form of the last couple of years and proving pivotal to United’s mini-revival that has seen them going unbeaten in their last seven games in all competitions.

David Moyes, who must be grateful for the much-needed four wins in a row United have secured over the last two weeks, has praised Rooney’s contribution, hailing the 28-year-old has United’s new leader after yet another inspired performance on Saturday.

Against Fulham, Rooney set up Antonio Valencia’s opener before scoring United’s third and even though he did inadvertently deflect Alex Kacaniklic’s effort beyond David De Gea to help Fulham reduce the deficit, the United manager was happy with his striker’s contribution, particularly as United were forced to make three changes at halftime which threatened to disrupt the team’s shape.

“Wayne’s a big leader in the team now,” said Moyes.

“He’s desperate for the team to be successful. Obviously a successful team helps him as well.

“But he’s got leadership ­qualities and he’s a man when he’s on the pitch.

“Even on Saturday, we felt as though Adnan Januzaj needed to drop in, so I needed to pull him out for the last 15 minutes just to make sure we didn’t do anything stupid. He understands that and he’s at an age now he can see that as well.”

Phil Jones, who’s been a regular feature under Moyes, praised his team-mates for showing the ruthless and clinical approach typical of the United of yesteryear. “The front four were terrific, causing all sorts of problems and we could and should have been five or six up at half-time.

“That sort of performance has definitely been coming. We’ve been saying for the past few weeks that someone is going to be on the end of a battering and it could have been that in the first half,” said Jones.

“We knew we needed to go on a run and we are slowly starting to get a really good momentum.”

Moyes was pleased with United’s improvements: “We’re improving but we know we have to. There are some signs we’re coming to it.

“I have always felt like it’s my team and my club. I felt that straight away. When you become the manager, that’s the job.

“Of course I know what people mean when they ask that – it’s obviously Sir Alex’s team and his players.

“But they’ve got a new manager and they know they have to perform as well. And a lot of them are beginning to show good form and good signs.”