MX23RW : Wednesday, September 22 18:04:11| >> :60:319:319:
Nov 18, 2006 at 3pm UK at Bramall Lane
Sheff UtdSheffield United
Man UtdManchester United
Gillespie (13')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Rooney (30', 75')

On this day: Wayne Rooney at the double against Sheffield United

Nine years ago today, Wayne Rooney scored both goals as Manchester United came from behind to beat Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

While Arsenal and Chelsea won three Premier League titles between them during the mid-2000s, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson refused to panic.

Rather than spend big in a bid to break the London stranglehold, the United boss put his faith in two players in particular - Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo. The pair arrived at Old Trafford as teenagers, but at the start of the 2006-07 campaign and by now in their early 20s, they were ready to lead an assault on all fronts that saw them score 23 goals apiece.

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney is congratulated after scoring against Sheffield United during their English Premiership football match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield, England, November 18 2006© Getty Images

It was a season that ended with United lifting the Premier League title, reaching the FA Cup final and the semi-finals of the Champions League. Ronaldo provided many key moments along the way, as did his partner in crime Rooney, who put Sheffield United to the sword nine years ago today.

The Red Devils made the trip to Bramall Lane having won their previous six Premier League games on the bounce, which had given them a lead of three points at the top over Chelsea.

However, it seemed that their position at the summit was coming under threat in the 13th minute courtesy of a former player. Derek Geary's inswinging cross from the left flank found Keith Gillespie, who had left Man United for Newcastle United in 1995 as part of the deal that saw Andy Cole move in the opposite direction.

The Northern Irish winger was not renowned for his heading ability, but his perfectly executed effort bounced out of Edwin van der Sar's reach and nestled in the far corner of the Dutch goalkeeper's net.

Yet, the home side's lead only lasted until the 30th minute when Rooney hauled United level. He nipped in on the blindside of Claude Davis to collect Gary Neville's cross, while his finish left Paddy Kenny in the home goal rooted to the spot.

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (L) beats Sheffield United's Claude Davis to score the second goal during their English Premiership football match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield, England, November 18 2006© Getty Images

Ferguson's men were the dominant force from that moment onwards, but they found the Blades surprisingly difficult to break down.

Enter Rooney for a second time as the 21-year-old won the match for his side with 15 minutes remaining. Left-back Patrice Evra picked him out at the back post with a pinpoint cross, which instead of controlling, he instantly volleyed back in the direction the ball had come from and inside the far post.

The scoreline should have been made even more convincing in the closing stages, but an out of sorts Ronaldo saw his headed effort from close range crash against the crossbar and then the Portuguese youngster inexplicably turned Ryan Giggs's through pass over the top.

Speaking after the final whistle, Ferguson said of two-goal Rooney: "They were two marvellous finishes from Rooney. The first came from a run across the defender. He has caught him on the hop, off-guard, and it was a great strike. The second was terrific. Taking that kind of finish, when you are under pressure and you need to win, it makes it more special."

Meanwhile, Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock added: "Rooney is the king in our eyes and that's why Steve McClaren (England manager) has to hope everything stays fresh with him and play him in his best position. I can't see a problem with him playing behind that front man. That's the best place for him. If you play Rooney there then you're going to score goals."

Sheff Utd: Kenny; Kozluk, Davis, Jagielka, Geary; Gillespie, Law, Leigertwood, A Quinn (Kabba), Kazim-Richards (Nade); Hulse

Man United: Van der Sar; Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra (Heinze); Ronaldo, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs; Rooney, Saha

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Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United celebrates with his team mates after scoring the opening goal; his 100th goal for Manchester United, during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Stoke City at Old Trafford on November 15, 2
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