Paul Scholes hailed the return of “the old Wayne Rooney” after the England striker scored twice against Newcastle on Tuesday.
Rooney has come in for intense criticism this season after scoring just four goals in 20 Premier and Champions League games, but struck twice and assisted another at Newcastle in a 3-3 draw in midweek.
Former team-mates Scholes and Rio Ferdinand were effusive in their praise for the 30-year-old, who took his tally of Premier League goals to 190 at St James’ Park.
“Everything he did was brilliant. That second goal was sensational,” Scholes told BT Sport. “For the last two or three weeks he’s been on the brink of looking back to the old Wayne Rooney.
“This is the Wayne Rooney we love. It’s great to have him back and I just hope it carries on.”
Ferdinand believes being surrounded by team-mates has been key to his ‘return’.
“It was a real confident, immaculate looking Wayne Rooney tonight,” Ferdinand said. “The Chelsea game and this game – when he’s played something like we’ve seen before – every time he had runners.
“Wayne Rooney needs runners.
“He’s not the player he was before where he could be the runner, running beyond people. He needs people running beyond him where he can pull the strings.”