How important has Wayne Rooney been to Manchester United's title win?

Wayne Rooney Volley

The England striker has spent most of the season in Robin Van Persie's shadow, with suggestions he might leave Manchester United this summer, but his role in the Premier League win should not be underrated.

Manchester United's second goal in the win over Aston Villa last night was not only a superb exhibition of Robin Van Persie's ability, it also gave a neat summary of how he has overshadowed Wayne Rooney's contribution to the United team this season.

A stunning first time volley past the helpless Brad Guzan dismissed concerns about a lasting dip in form and confidence, and his match-winning hat trick gave plenty of ammunition to those who suggest he has carried United to their 20th league title.

However whilst Rooney's sublime pass into Van Persie's path for the volley has been acknowledged, it has not received the recognition it deserved, something that can be extended to Rooney's contribution as a whole this season.

Rooney has scored twelve times in the league, and also set up ten goals - the joint second highest in the division behind only the irrepressible Juan Mata. Rooney has done all this whilst constantly being shifted around the United formation in order to plug various gaps, and in recent weeks he has had the added distraction of speculation about his future and indeed his fitness.

Only Mata, Rooney and Theo Walcott have managed to produce more than ten goals and ten assists in the league this year, and if Rooney is compared to other attacking midfielders in the division, which is fair given that is generally where he has played, his tally looks particularly impressive.

Van Persie's goals have been crucial, as has Michael Carrick's fluid passing in the middle of the pitch, but Rooney's ability to drive United's attacks from almost anywhere on the pitch has also been integral to the side's success, and United could find it far harder to replace him than they expect if the 27 year old does leave in the summer.

image: © nasmac

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