The England striker impressed during United's 1-0 win over the Gunners at Old Trafford on Sunday, shortening their gap behind the top to five points.
"I thought it would be Wayne Rooney's day," Neville told the club's official website.
"I thought he would come to the fore and be a real powerhouse and give a big performance. He was joined by others of course, but he was the main man."
Rooney was linked with a move to Chelsea in the summer window, but the North-West outfit rejected two bids from their Premier League rivals.