Football Expert & Columnist
Wayne Rooney 'yet to peak for Man Utd' despite scoring 200 goals
Wayne Rooney has yet to produce the best form of his Man Utd career, says Graeme Souness.
Last Updated: 18/09/13 11:19am
New United boss David Moyes described Rooney as "world class" after the striker scored twice in a 4-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League.
The brace took Rooney through the 200-goal mark for United with only Sir Bobby Charlton (249), Denis Law (237) and Jack Rowling (211) having scored more for the club.
Earlier this summer the England international appeared to want to leave Old Trafford after becoming seemingly disillusioned with his opportunities under former boss Sir Alex Ferguson, but Souness told Champions League Goals that the 27-year-old has clearly regained his appetite.
"Logically, Rooney should just be reaching his peak," said Souness. "In the next three years he should be at his very best.
"Last year he wasn't playing - Fergie, for whatever reason, decided not to use him and he wasn't involved in some big games at all.
"He's gone from being first pick to third or fourth choice - whether it be up front or somewhere in an attacking formation in midfield.
"I think he had his nose put out of joint and I think under this new manager he feels loved again. It's a simple case of him wanting to play football.
"If the stories are correct - and you can imagine it when you see him playing football - he's first on the training ground and you have to drag him off it.
"When he's fully at it you can see that enthusiasm in spades. He's a bit like Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero in as much as he makes other people play with his enthusiasm."
Souness' fellow Champions League Goals pundit Dietmar Hamann, who won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005, agreed that there has been a sharp upturn in Rooney's attitude this season adding that it bodes well for Manchester United's Premier League title chances.
"I think he did lose his appetite - I don't think he was too happy at the back end of last season. He was used in various positions - the only position he didn't play was centre-forward - and he was left out of the game against Real Madrid.
"I don't think he was a happy bunny for a long time. In the summer he may have wanted to go - we don't know if he put in a transfer request or not.
"The club said he didn't go and what a good decision it looks now because he seems to have his mojo back and has started the season really well.
"We all know what he's capable of and it's great to see him back in goal-scoring form because if Man Utd want to do well this season they need him in form."
Those sentiments were echoed in his post-match conference by Moyes, who claims that Rooney is "in a good place at the moment".
Although Ray Wilkins, who made 194 appearances for United between 1979-84, questioned whether Rooney's first strike of the night should have stood, he said that the striker deserves every plaudit that comes his way for reaching the 200-goal mark.
"I would have said his first goal was off-side because Valencia was right on [the goalkeeper] Leno but he kept it down well, side-footing the ball into the floor.
"Wayne was outstanding - full of energy and full of life. To score 200 goals for Manchester United is pretty good going!"
Watch United's next game - Sunday's Manchester derby - from 3.30pm on Sky Sports 1.