Wayne Rooney took his cue from watching Manchester United predecessor David Beckham with a breath-taking half-field goal in his side’s 2-0 victory at West Ham United on Saturday.
Beckham made his name as a United player with a goal from the halfway line against Wimbledon on the opening day of the 1996-97 season and he was in attendance at Upton Park to see Rooney score a long-range lob of his own.
With eight minutes on the clock, Rooney outmuscled West Ham defender James Tomkins on halfway before looking up and dispatching a looping half-volley that bounced over befuddled goalkeeper Adrian and into the net.
The England striker added a second goal in the 33rd minute, which was his 212th in United’s colours, taking him into third place on the list of the club’s leading scorers behind Bobby Charlton (249) and Denis Law (237).
Explaining his opening goal, Rooney told Sky Sports: “It was just instinct. I turned, had a quick look and saw the keeper off the line. I’ve tried it many times and thankfully it went in.
“It is up there with my best. I would not say it is my favourite, but when they come off it is great for me and the team.”
Asked if he thought it was better than Beckham’s famous strike, Rooney replied with a grin: “Of course, yeah.”