Wayne Rooney has come in for a barrage of criticism this season over the state of his form and fitness. Goals have been at a premium and suspicions about his conditioning have conspired to create the impression that here is a player in precipitous decline.

However, the United skipper remains a competitive character and notwithstanding his loss of pace and overall sharpness, there are few better when it comes to striking the ball. Witness his second goal in Manchester United’s 3-3 draw at Newcastle United where he produced a powerful strike from just outside the area.

Reports of Rooney’s demise may not have been exaggerated, but while his football intelligence abides and his technique remains intact, he will continue to produce occasional moments of brilliance.