Once a player leaves a club, they can never truly bid farewell to their former fanbase. In fact, their present showings may have a bigger say on their past than initially meets the eye, especially when comparisons come into play.
Even as Manchester United suffered a loss to Arsenal, their 6th one already so far this season, the once brilliant past of the side glared even brighter.
To make matters worse, a familiar face had returned to English football and had restarted affairs with utter brilliance.
Wayne Rooney had joined Derby County in the New Year, marking his return to English football. The former Manchester United striker was one of the standout performers of the last decade, arguably their best player during the period.
True to his prior brilliance, Rooney’s impact on the Championship outfit was instant. During their fixture against Barnsley on January 3rd Rooney played a crucial role in both of the goals that his side netted.
Manchester United fans took clear notice of the performance of their all-time top scorer who is now 34 years of age and stormed Twitter with their reactions.
Wayne Rooney contribution for @dcfcofficial tonight
Successful Passes: 2️⃣5️⃣ (most for Derby)
Good passes & crosses:
2️⃣7️⃣ (most for Derby)
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) January 2, 2020
Wayne Rooney is now six months and a losing playoff final away from becoming Man Utd manager
— Barney Ronay (@barneyronay) January 2, 2020
Wayne Rooney starting and being made captain. Reminder that his wages are being paid by a bookmaker who were able to choose his squad number as an advert. All very 'modern'.
— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) January 2, 2020
Wayne Rooney’s first assist since he flooded his own basement to help Coleen catch Rebekah Vardy
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) January 2, 2020
The majority of the tweets were clearly lamenting over the lost glory of the past. There were also those that were doing direct comparisons with the way in which Jesse Lingard has been ineffective at the very same role so far this season- further emphasizing just how much the quality has fallen at United.
There is no denying that Derby have acquired the perfect player to further their ambitions, even despite the clear financial burdens involved.
The bigger question, however, is whether United will ever receive a player of Rooney’s caliber ever again?