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Page last updated at 18:54 GMT, Saturday, 20 November 2010

Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson buoyed by Rooney return

Wayne Rooney
Rooney played his first game for Manchester United since 16 October

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was pleased with Wayne Rooney's comeback from injury in the 2-0 win over Wigan at Old Trafford.

It was the first match for Rooney, who last played on 16 October, since he made a U-turn over his desire to leave the club and signed a new contract.

Rooney was both cheered and jeered by fans but Ferguson said: "That reception was good and it will settle him down."

The striker will start Wednesday's Champions League match against Rangers.

With the contract saga that eventually resulted in Rooney belatedly signing a new five-year deal at Old Trafford fresh in the memory, it was no surprise that his return was met with a mixed reaction from supporters.


Having initially said he wanted to leave United because the 'club lacked ambition' Rooney surprisingly changed his mind and committed his long-term future to the club.

Injury prevented him from playing sooner but having recently returned from a training camp in the United States he came on as a 57th-minute replacement for Federico Macheda.

The England striker tested Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi with a header and also fired straight at the Latics man late on with United eventually winning through goals from Patrice Evra and Javier Hernandez.

"That [return] has taken a lot of pressure off the boy," added Ferguson.

"It was a quiet comeback, he got involved in a few of the bits of interplay but in the main he just needed that 25 minutes or so.

Phelan promises 'more to come' from Man Utd

"He will play a full 90 minutes against Rangers on Wednesday and that will help with his fitness."

Rooney is still without a goal in open play this season but assistant manager Mike Phelan said the United coaching team were happy with the 25-year-old's progress.

"It was built up to be his comeback and I think overall the crowd reception was very good," said Phelan.

"They showed that they want Wayne Rooney to play for Manchester United.

Phelan added: "We are pleased with his fitness and are waiting for him to respond in the way we know he can."

The victory against Wigan, who had Antolin Alcaraz and Hugo Rodallega sent off, put United joint top of the table with Chelsea and Ferguson was delighted to see his side take advantage of defeats for Chelsea and Arsenal on Saturday.

"It has been a good day for us, no question of that," stated Ferguson.

"If you had said at the start of the day would you take being joint top of the league I would have said 'yes'.

"We know that come the second half of the season we will definitely get better and now we are joint top with Chelsea."

Wigan have dropped into the bottom three as a result of the defeat but manager Roberto Martinez said he could comfort from his team's resilience after going down to nine men.

"Everything was going according to plan - we looked really resilient and strong and were frustrating Manchester United and we looked like the team who were going to score," said Martinez.

Everything went against us - Martinez

"But we allowed the frustration to develop and that knocked our concentration.

"When you go down to eight outfield players it's easy to capitulate but be showed real character and steel to form the basis for a good platform for the future."

Martinez said he did not want to comment on the performance of referee Martin Atkinson but admitted his players should have controlled themselves better.

He added: "It's not just those two incidents - this is one of the toughest places to come in European football and we allowed that frustration to develop over the small decisions, not the big calls.

"We should have controlled ourselves a bit better."

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see also
Man Utd 2-0 Wigan
20 Nov 10 |  Premier League
Fit-again Rooney could face Wigan
19 Nov 10 |  Man Utd
Rooney heads to US for rehab work
05 Nov 10 |  Man Utd
How the Rooney saga unfolded
22 Oct 10 |  Man Utd
Rooney signs new Man Utd contract
22 Oct 10 |  Man Utd

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