An 11,000 sheet Mosaic bearing his name, and a Guard of Honor, met Wayne Rooney and his family as he entered the Old Trafford pitch on the night of his Manchester United Testimonial Match. This was United’s final warm-up before the much-anticipated season gets underway on Sunday at Wembley against Leicester City in the annual season kickoff – the FA Community Shield.
The match started off slowly with only a couple of United corners in the first 10 minutes to show for any of the work United did on offense. On the opposite end, Romelu Lukaku had a run and shot on David De Gea’s goal but the ball came straight to the chest of the diving keeper. The first real chance came in the 25th minute as the man of the night, Rooney, put through Zlatan Ibrahimovic who’s left-footed shot was saved by the Everton keeper.
Everton was next to show some attacking intent as some good work by Lukaku outside the United box saw the ball deflect to Ross Barkley for a powerful low shot. The shot was straight at De Gea and the Spanish keeper did his job. United countered and it took a good tackle from Seamus Coleman for a United corner to stop Lingard from taking a shot on goal. The resulting corner came to nothing.
United continued to probe and press Everton and it was the lively Luke Shaw who had United’s next chance as then he received the ball on the left, but his powerful shot was deflected out for a United corner. Rooney and Ibrahimovic combined again and a great ball from Rooney gave the Swede another shot on goal, this time, closer to the keeper, but the shot was smothered well by the Everton keeper. At the opposite end, Lukaku found himself in between United’s defense but couldn’t place his free header on goal to open the scoring. The final attack of the half came from United and went without a goal as the referee’s whistle brought a slow-paced first half to an end.
As he said he would in his pre-match comments, Mourinho made big changes to the United line-up in the second half as he searches for the match fitness for his players. Marouane Fellaini, Morgan Schneiderlin, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Ashley Young came on for United. The match picked up where it left off, as both teams carefully probed for an opening goal. A great fell to the foot of Mirallas but his powerful, close-range shot could only find the side netting.
It was time for Rooney to exit the festivities of his own testimonial, and to a standing ovation and chants of, “Rooney! Rooney! Rooney!”, Manchester United’s captain exited the field and Marcus Rashford took his place. Mkhitaryan was now United’s liveliest player, a part of each positive play from the Red Devils, but no goals came from the Old Trafford side or their opponents. In the 62nd minute, some neat work from Ibrahimovic in midfield helped create a through ball for the big Swede, but the Everton keeper just beating him to the ball to gather safely.
A host of changes for Everton came next and United made a few more as Darmian, Mata, Memphis, and Romero made their way onto the Old Trafford pitch. In the 70th minute, a deep, early cross from Memphis on the left nearly found the head of the oncoming Fellaini but flew narrowly past. Seven minutes later, a good run and cross from Rashford was taken on the chest by Fellaini in the Everton box. His lay-off found Juan Mata, but his shot was blocked out for a corner by Tom Cleverley. Fellaini’s tame header from the resulting corner was on goal but was comfortably saved in the end.
Neither team ever looked like seriously scoring on the night, with United the more positive side at Old Trafford, and so the night ended with a 0-0 scoreline. Rooney rounded off the night by addressing the crowd at Old Trafford thanking them for the terrific support they’ve shown him in his 12 years at Old Trafford and leaving them with the hope that there will be more trophies to come in his remaining time, however long is left for him, at Old Trafford.
Manchester United: De Gea (Romero 65′); Valencia (Darmian 65′), Bailly (Jones 46′), Blind (Mata 65′), Shaw (Rojo 46′); Carrick (Schneiderlin 46′), Herrera (Fellaini 46′); Lingard (Mkhitaryan 46′), Rooney (Rashford 53′), Martial (Young 46′); Ibrahimovic (Memphis 65′)
Substitutes Not Used: Johnstone