On Friday/Saturday we carried out a poll amongst readers to see what their reaction was to Rooney’s return and the results can be said to have been a microcosm of what actually happened when the striker was called up to replace Macheda in the second half.
78% of readers said they would be happy to see him return whilst 22% said they wouldn’t be and when his name was called the cheers drowned out the booing. Sir Alex is a veteran and is wise enough to know how to deal with these situations so when he was ready to send Rooney on he came on as part of a double substitution with Paul Scholes lessening the likelyhood of booing.
An interesting take I got on the situation from another fan was that in all his time on the field Rooney didn’t want to dwell on the ball at the risk of being booed but from what I saw the crowd were quick to chant the familiar refrain of ‘ROOONEY’ when he did well including a sumptuous ball out wide that I’m sure nobody spotted having expected a shot.
He could have even got on the score sheet had he been more alert after the ball somehow ended up on his toe but his tame but unexpected chance was saved by Al Habsi.
As I said, Sir Alex knew what he was doing setting up Rooney’s introduction the way he did and afterwards said: