Date: 11th September 2008 at 9:42am
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England looked like a proper football team for the first time in ages yesterday in Zagreb: they thrashed Croatia 4-1 to become the first side to ever win a competitive international game against the Croatians on their own turf.

The media, understandably, focused on Theo Walcott who produced a spectacularly brilliant performance and the first England hat-trick since Munich. However, we should not let Rooney’s performance pass unnoticed as he played better than any time this season.

After a quiet start Wayne got into his stride. His first assist was the penultimate touch in a brilliant move, finished expertly by Walcott. In the second half he added a third England goal with a cool finish and he visibly grew in confidence after that. His sublime, brilliant pass to Theo Walcott created the fourth goal and he definitely looked like the real Wayne Rooney.

Now, I don’t think I need to stress how important it is now, with United set to face Liverpool, Villarreal and Chelsea in eight days’ time. Rooney, who is a confidence player, finally produced a standout performance which lived up to the nations’ and more importantly, to his own expectations.

Hopefully, this will take some of the burden off him and he will temporarily put his selfless, hard-working self aside to show a little bit more brilliance which we know he is capable of. And what better place to start than Anfield where he scored a winner once, back in 2005?