Jump directly to the content

News Corp is a network of leading companies in the worlds of diversified media, news, education, and information services.


Your Sun

A News UK Company

Remembering every single one of Wayne Rooney’s strike partners at Man United

Wayne Rooney made history at Man United.

After arriving in Manchester as an 18-year-old wonderkid, he went on to score 253 goals in all competitions, eclipsing Sir Bobby Charlton as Man United’s all-time top goalscorer.

Along the way he’s had a fair few strike partners. Some have helped, some have hindered. So let’s take a walk down memory lane.




Rooney’s strike partners in his first season at Old Trafford fall into two categories- those with European pedigree and those with potential.

In the first category were prolific Dutchman Ruud van Nistelrooy, whom he made his debut against Fenerbahce alongside, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and explosive Frenchman Louis Saha.

The second group was populated by Cristiano RonaldoGiuseppe Rossi and Diego Forlan.

We shouldn’t forget David Bellion either who lined up with Rooney and Ruud against Fenerbahce and helped himself to an 81st minute goal.




If Rooney’s strike partners in 2006 were a song they’d be Drake’s ‘No New Friends’.

The closest Dong Fangzhuo got to sharing a pitch with Wazza was shaking his hand when he got the hook in a 0-0 draw with Chelsea.

But Rooney did play 12 times with Henrik Larsson during the Swede’s three-month loan stint in Manchester.




It took until late September for Sir Alex Ferguson to be able to partner new signing Carlos Tevez with Rooney and Ronaldo in what would become a devastating attacking trio.

That came against Chelsea in the Premier League with Tevez scoring the first after John Obi Mikel had been sent off by Mike Dean (who else?).

As with the previous season Rooney only had to adapt to playing with one new strike partner.


When Tevez flew back to Argentina on the eve of United’s opening Premier League fixture, against Newcastle, Fergie had a problem on his hands. Who to play up front?

Fergie solved this by playing Fraizer Campbell alongside Rooney but the 1-1 draw forced him into the transfer market, resulting in a move for Dimitar Berbatov.

But the season undoubtedly belonged to another of Rooney’s striker partners- Federico Macheda.

He wasn’t actually on the pitch when the Italian scored against Liverpool but he was when Macheda followed it up with a goal against Sunderland with United going on to win the Premier League title by four points.




Heard the one about the academy graduate, Ballon d’Or winner and Senegalese starlet?

Rooney would play alongside Danny Welbeck, Michael Owen and Mame Biram Diouf at various stages of the 2009/10 season.

With 26 Premier League goals he was crowned PFA Fans’ Player of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season but his season ended in disappointment as England crashed out of the 2010 World Cup against Germany.




While Rooney was limping out of the World Cup a little-known Mexican was setting it on fire.

Javier Hernandez arrived at Old Trafford having scored twice in South Africa and didn’t take long to settle in to life in Manchester.

A debut goal in the Community Shield against Chelsea came with Rooney off the pitch but Wazza was playing when Hernandez scored his first Premier League goal against West Brom in January.




Rooney linked up with Robin van Persie for the 2012/13 season to form one of Europe’s best partnerships.

RVP’s guile and Rooney’s power saw the pair combine for 38 goals as United won the Premier League for the last time under Ferguson.

So long, old friend.




Louis van Gaal’s reign in Manchester saw James Wilson brought into the fold with the academy graduate playing alongside Rooney for the first time in a 1-0 Manchester derby loss.

Of greater interest was the arrival of Radamel Falcao who was supposed to form something of a Hollywood striker partnership with Rooney.

Injuries had clearly robbed to Colombian of his explosiveness though as he only netted four goals in a United kit, three of which came with Rooney on the pitch.




Will Keane made his long awaited debut against Sunderland at the end of the 2015/16 season, playing four minutes with Rooney in a 2-1 loss.

But Keane was overshadowed by another academy product given his chance because of an injury to Rooney. We are, of course, talking about Marcus Rashford.

The pair wouldn’t play together until 12 games into Rashford’s United career when the youngster scored the winner against Aston Villa.

Rooney also missed Anthony Martial’s debut goal although he lined up alongside the Frenchman as he scored two goals against Southampton eight days later.




Rooney’s mission to  overtake Charlton and become United’s all-time top goalscorer wasn’t helped by Rashford’s emergence and the signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Ibra was signed to play the main striker role meaning Rooney was given a more withdrawn role, although Jose Mourinho dropped the idea of playing him in midfield.

His fourth (and record equalling) goal of the season came with Zlatan watching on from the bench with 18 goals already in his back pocket, but he got their eventually with a free-kick against Stoke.

From Bellion to Ibrahimovic, it’s been some ride.