Wayne Rooney is a Manchester United legend, but tonight the club’s all-time top goalscorer will line up against them for Derby County.
United travel to Pride Park, which hosts the last of the fifth round FA Cup ties as the Red Devils bid to reach their sixth straight quarter-final in the competition.
United last tasted FA Cup glory in 2016, with club captain at the time Rooney leading them to success.
In fact, the Premier League icon was on target for United in their fourth round tie against Derby at Pride Park in the fourth round – a game they won 3-1.
Tonight, Rooney will be looking to repeat the feat but this time for Derby.
Scoring goals is second nature to Rooney by now, it’s something he did 253 times for United during his 13-year tenure at the club.
Here, MM picks out six of the best of Rooney’s United goals.
1. Debut goal – 28 September 2004 – Manchester United 6-2 Fenerbache (UEFA Champions League group stage)
Incredible. A month after signing for United from Everton for £30million, a then club record fee, Rooney made his eagerly awaited debut for United against Turkish outfit Fenerbache in the Champions League.
It took just under 20 minutes for Rooney to open his United account as he latched onto a threaded through ball from strike partner Ruud van Nistelrooy before rifling an emphatic left-footed shot past a helpless Rustu Recber in the Fenerbache goal. Not bad for his apparent weaker foot.
United’s marquee signing and England’s boy wonder then doubled his tally and early in the second half he sealed what still is the best hat-trick of his amazing career to date.
2. Wondergoal against the Magpies – 24 April 2005 – Manchester United 2-1 Newcastle United (Premier League)
When used shrewdly, anger and aggression can be one of the best characteristics in a footballer’s game, especially a striker’s.
Early in his career, Rooney had temperament in his game but he used it to his advantage towards the end of the 2004/05 season. Furious with referee Neale Barry, Rooney appeared to take his anger out on the ball!
After he had finished arguing with the referee, the ball sat up perfectly for him 30 yards from goal, and he lashed it into the roof of the net past Shay Given – one of the Premier League’s best goalkeepers at the time.
The goal inspired a comeback, United were 1-0 down at the time before Rooney and Wes Brown turned the game around.
England’s past star Alan Shearer captained Newcastle that day, but England’s present and future star Rooney was the star of the show.
3. Rooney destroys Milan’s defence – 24 April 2007 – Manchester United 3-2 AC Milan (UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg)
A huge moment in Rooney’s career. It was exactly two years to the day since he scored the sumptuous volley against Newcastle playing against a centre-back pairing of Jean-Alain Boumsong and Andy O’Brien.
Two years on, he was up against the might of Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Maldini.
Although Kaka was very much the star of the show in the first half, the second half was all about Rooney, who netted a brace – including a stunning winner in the last minute by running in behind Nesta and leaving him for dead before thrashing the ball past Dida.
At just 21 years of age, Rooney was deciding games on the big stage against Europe’s best teams. He was already truly world-class.
4. On your bike – 12 February 2011 – Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City (Premier League)
When the big games came around, it was almost a formality that Rooney was going to deliver the goods every time.
The Red Devils were chasing a record 19th league title to put them ahead of Liverpool on titles won, and a pivotal game in the title race was February’s Manchester Derby as City were bidding to close the gap one league leaders United to just two points.
But instead of closing the gap or even preserving it, United instead extended the gap to eight points courtesy of their main man.
His stunning overhead kick against rivals City was simply out of this world. With the game on a knife edge, Rooney met deflected Nani’s cross in the most unorthodox yet extraordinary way possible by scoring an overhead kick.
It was Rooney’s best goal, and a goal which in 2012 was voted the best ever scored in the history of the Premier League.
5. Vintage United goal – 28 May 2011 – FC Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United (UEFA Champions League final)
Three-and-a-half months after he scored the overhead kick against City, he scored an even bigger goal and from a team goal point of view an even better one against Barcelona.
Even though United lost their second Champions League final in three years to Pep Guardiola’s all-stars, Rooney was centre stage as he dragged his side back into the game with an equaliser shortly before half-time.
Barcelona were 1-0 up and in the ascendency until Rooney engineered one of the most beautifully worked United moves you will ever see
Rooney played a neat one-two with Michael Carrick, then played another one-two with Ryan Giggs before sweeping the ball home as beautifully as an artist strokes a paintbrush. Three vintage United players were involved in a move that ended with a vintage United goal being scored.
Under the Wembley arch, the nation’s star scored a goal fitting for the occasion at the ‘home of football.’
Clive Tyldesley’s ITV commentary summed it up – “the best moment yet in the mercurial career of Wayne Rooney.”
6. 250 Up: Sir Bobby’s record broken – 24 January 2017 – Stoke City 1-1 Manchester United (Premier League)
It was tough afternoon for United in the potteries.
They were trailing 1-0 and staring down the barrel at their first defeat in 23 games… until deep into stoppage time.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man – the man United knew they could always count on.
It had happened far too many times to consider it ‘right man, right place, right time,’ Rooney had a natural goal scorer’s instinct – he could score at any time, any place, anywhere. Standing over a free-kick in the dying embers of the game at a wet and windy Bet365 Stadium, the moment everyone had been waiting for felt inevitable.
Not long on as a substitute, Rooney wrapped his right foot around the ball and watched it fly into the top corner. He then celebrated by calling his team-mates back to the centre circle. He’d just made a unique piece of history, but pushing for the three points was simply more important. He was born and bred to win.
And it was this mentality that eventually made Rooney the premier goal scorer of England’s premier club – he no longer had anything to prove. He’d done it all.