Rooney wonder strike could make United’s season

February 12, 2011

SOCCER-ENGLAND/Wayne Rooney said it was his greatest goal and Alex Ferguson said he had never seen anything like it. Even opposition manager Roberto Mancini had to applaud.

So many times you see players fall flat on their faces as they attempt an overhead wonder goal but any smirks that might have been rising as Rooney embarked on what looked like mission impossible were quickly replaced by utter disbelief at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Rooney was lurking in the box when Nani sent his cross in from the right and the England striker jumped high and swivelled his body while stretching out his right leg to acrobatically strike the ball over his head and into the top right corner.

It was a sort of pinch yourself moment. A stunned silence -– a sort of “did we really just see that?” — erupted almost immediately into a deafening roar as Rooney grabbed the winner against neighbours and fellow title contenders Manchester City.

Rooney said he had not attempted anything like that since his school days -– and the likelihood is that if he tried it again he would end up in a messy heap on the turf with the ball high in the stands.

It is the sort of manoeuvre school children across the country will be trying to copy at break time next week –- teachers, get your plasters ready!

In that one second of brilliance, Rooney achieved many things.

The United fans who have found it hard to get over the fact he wanted to leave their club earlier this season were finally cheering his name in the way they used to before he almost abandoned them.

He gave United three points that put their hopes of a record 19th league title firmly on course.

He also wiped away any lingering questions over his self-belief after a below-par season.

If there were any left of course — after all, only someone supremely confident would have even tried this type of shot.

Finally, he also dealt a major blow to City’s title challenge.

Will it be the goal of the season or will it be the goal that makes United’s season? Possibly both.

PHOTO: Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney scores with an overhead kick against Manchester City during their English Premier League soccer match at Old Trafford in Manchester, northern England, February 12, 2011. REUTERS/Darren Staples.

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Don’t try this at home.

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