Moyes: Rooney has found himself
Published 25/10/2013 | 17:16
Manchester United manager David Moyes believes Wayne Rooney needed to "find himself" in order to get back to his best.
In his assessment of Rooney's performance immediately after Wednesday's Champions League win over Real Sociedad, Moyes claimed it wasn't the "old" one returning to form, it was a "new Wayne Rooney".
Even Sir Alex Ferguson has revelled in the 28-year-old's outstanding contribution to United's season so far.
Rooney has already scored five times and it was his mazy run and shot that resulted in the own goal in midweek that ultimately proved decisive, underlining just how much of an impact he has been making.
"Wayne had to find himself and get back mentally and physically and do all the right things," said Moyes.
"He has done that. The way he has gone about his work has been great.
"Physically he is in great shape, as everyone can see, and mentally he is in a really good place. The way he played the other night was excellent.
"He is in good form. We want him to keep banging in the goals and keep playing as well as he is."
Rooney's form has led to claims a new contract will be offered in the next few months, which would be understandable.
However, Moyes is not giving anything away.
"I couldn't tell you about that just now," he said.
"I don't know if any more has been said."
What Moyes was prepared to confirm was the return to fitness of Robin van Persie, who missed Wednesday's game with a combination of niggling problems.
And Van Persie's return should at least silence the social media chatter about the Dutchman not getting on with his new manager, something Moyes flatly denies.
"Did someone say there was a problem? Who?" said Moyes.
"If you take if from social media you can't guarantee it.
"There is no problem with Robin van Persie whatsoever.
"He's had problems with his toes and a little bit with his groin as well, but I think he should be okay."
Surprisingly though, Van Persie's partnership with Rooney is not quite as prolific as many would imagine.
Since last December, the duo have only scored in the same Premier League game once - against Crystal Palace earlier this season - suggesting one, or both, loses something when the pair combine.
Moyes will hope they find the missing link pretty quickly.
For, after recording just one win from four Premier League games at Old Trafford this season, United are evidently not as impregnable as they once were.
It is a point not lost on Stoke manager Mark Hughes, who brings his side up the M6 looking to end a run of 10 successive defeats.
Hughes argued United do not have the aura of old.
However Moyes, who once had a major spat with the Welshman over Manchester City's pursuit of Joleon Lescott, does not agree.
"That might be Mark's opinion," said Moyes.
"He's entitled to that but we'll wait and see.
"There's only two months of the season gone and there will be a lot of slip-ups by teams between now and the end of the season.
"We don't want to lose many more if we can help it."
Stoke do seem ripe for United just now.
They have scored only four times this season, and just once in their last five games.
A bit like Moyes and United, it appears Stoke are taking time to adjust to having a new man at the helm.
"To take the job at Stoke was always going to be hard," said Moyes.
"Tony Pulis did a great job keeping them in the division quite comfortably most years.
"It wasn't a team any side wanted to play because you knew what they were capable of.
"It is going to take Mark time to change the way Stoke do things."