It’s hard to believe that Wayne Rooney is still only 32. Many have made the comparison with his former teammate - and briefly, nemesis - Cristiano Ronaldo who, aged 33, was still lighting up the World Cup, scoring a hat-trick for Portugal against Spain, while Rooney, England’s all-time record goalscorer lest we forget, was sat at home negotiating a move to the MLS, often seen as a quasi-retirement home for great players past their best.
However, the years of first-team football - leading the line for Everton, and then Manchester United, since the age of 16 - have taken their toll on the Liverpool-born forward and, despite a respectable final season in England with boyhood club Everton, during which he scored ten goals, few could blame him for seeing out the final few years of his career taking it easy, and undoubtedly earning a small fortune at DC United.
However, it seems that Rooney has no intention of going quietly into the night, as this absolutely incredible passage of play, during a game on Sunday against Orlando City, proves.
The game was poised at 2-2 in the 96th minute, with DC’s ‘keeper David Ousted in the opposing penalty area as they sought a winner.
However, Orlando broke clear, with a goal seemingly certain, as an unguarded net beckoned - but they reckoned without Rooney, who embarked upon a lungbusting run, half the length of the pitch, to make a superb tackle, before running back toward the Orlando goal and putting in a magnificent pass, picking out Luciano Acosta, who rose to score a header, sealing his hat-trick and the victory for United.
Rooney had provided the assist for Acosta’s first goal, in the fourth minute of first-half injury time. However, a David Ousted own goal levelled things up, before Cristian Higuita was sent-off for Orlando in the 55th minute. Another Acosta strike on 64 minutes was cancelled out by Dom Dwyer in the 71st minute before the breathtaking conclusion to the game.
Only one thing was strange about the strike - the lack of teammates running back toward him to give him the praise he deserved for his stunning intervention, instead, he meekly signalled back to the bench. Well, have a well done from us Wayne, lovely work.