Rooney made his debut for Manchester United on 28 September 2004 in the UEFA Champions League against FenerbahÃ§e, scoring a hat-trick and also an assist (the match finished in a 6-2 win for United). For the 2005-06 season, Rooney initially started playing in wider positions than his more favoured central role. Pundits and fans alike agreed that he seemed less effective in such positions. Eventually, after Manchester United’s poor run of form early in the season, Sir Alex Ferguson moved him back to his stronger position, playing behind Dutchman Ruud van Nistelrooy as a second striker.
He got his first professional Winners Medal in the 2006 English League Cup. He was also named Man of the Match in the League Cup final against Wigan Athletic, after scoring two goals in the final (a 4-0 victory for United), en route to winning his first senior medal.
He was also a member of the United side defeated in the 2005 FA Cup Final by Arsenal. He captained Manchester United for the first time in a home Champions League match against Copenhagen on 17 October 2006, becoming probably the youngest captain in the clubs’ history.
On 26 November 2006 he signed a two-year extension to his contract, which will keep him at Old Trafford until at least 2012; the contract extension negotiations only took one month, which was interpreted as showing how keen both sides were to conclude the extension.
Rooney has been a prolific goal scorer for Manchester United and Everton, matching the level of goals scored by other strikers such as Ruud van Nistelrooy. Also, he is a regular assist contributor. In the 2005-2006 season he achieved a final total of 14 assists and 16 goals, fewer goals than his current strike partner Louis Saha, but more assists.
During the first half of the 2006-7 season, Rooney went 10 games without a goal before scoring a hat-trick against Bolton. There was speculation about his fitness and confidence on the pitch, as he seemed less active than he usually is and his presence on the field was somewhat overshadowed by the brilliant form of Portuguese winger Cristiano Ronaldo. Rooney’s scoring rate had been matched by Louis Saha and exceeded by Cristiano Ronaldo, a winger. Nevertheless, as of February 2007 he was the top English goalscorer in the Premiership, and had received significantly fewer bookings than in previous seasons. In the FA Cup tie against Portsmouth, Rooney came on as a substitute and scored two goals, one of which was a 25-yard chip over goalkeeper David James, and soon after scored two of United’s four goals in the derby against Bolton.
Rooney scored his first goal for two-and-a-half years in Europe in a 2-1 defeat to A.S. Roma on 4 April 2007 in the quarter-final first leg of the Champions League. His scoring in the tournament continued in the quarter-final second leg against Roma and the semi-final first leg on, when he scored two goals in the 3-2 victory over A.C. Milan, the second a low first-time drive into the bottom right-hand corner. By the end of April, Rooney had scored 23 goals for his team in all competitions, taking him ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo in goals scored in all competitions this season.
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