Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney ended his goal drought with a hat-trick against Belgian side Club Brugge, as the Red Devils stormed to victory in the second leg of Wednesday night’s Champions League qualifiers. The England international, 29, has been under pressure for a less than prolific 2015, but silenced his critics with a ruthless display in front of goal this week.
“I have given him always the confidence that a player needs, but I think Wayne has a very strong mentality and with his level he always shall come back. He proved that this evening, but also there’s still a long way for him and also for Manchester United. Every goal shall give confidence to every player, even Wayne. I’m very happy for him,” said his manager Louis van Gaal.
Rooney’s next objective will be to replicate such scoring antics in the Premier League, but it won’t be easy given his nine-game run without a goal in the division. Rooney scored just four goals in 19 games in 2014/15, so supporters may need to continue being patient with the striker in the domestic league. As Manchester United’s chief striker, Rooney can hardly afford a goal drought this season if the Red Devils are to enjoy success.
Louis van Gaal‘s men are the joint-lowest scorers in the Premier League so far this campaign, with Rooney having struggled to shine early on. The former Everton man has had chances, but hadn’t taken them until Wednesday. Manchester United hardly had another viable option in his absence either, with Javier Hernandez the only cover for the long-serving forward.
It’s been a gamble not signing a goalscorer in the summer transfer market, but if Rooney can continue his European form in the Premier League, such faith in the striker will seem a masterstroke of management. Manchester United travel to face Swansea City this weekend, which will be a tough game given the Welsh club beat Van Gaal’s men at the Liberty Stadium in 2014/15.
Rooney’s goal tallies over the last few years have been scrutinised, with the 29-year-old averaging just 13.6 league goals per season. If United are to win the title, the England man will need to double such an average, starting on Sunday. He’ll be full of confidence after ending his drought, and now needs to prove his credentials in the domestic league to ensure Manchester United keep picking up results.
So can the hat-trick hero now hit the ground running in the Premier League this season?