With competition for a top four spot heating up and a title bid still not over for both teams, Sunday sees a crucial Manchester derby between United and City. Ahead of the all-important fixture, Wayne picks his top 5 moments of the derbies he’s played in.
1. Overhead Kick
Wayne’s favourite Manchester Derby moment is the overhead kick in February 2011, “it was a massive game for both teams and to score in that way was something I will never forget, the feeling was unbelievable” The goal was the winner in a 2-1 United victory and Sir Alex Ferguson suggested that it was the greatest goal scored during his time as manager. Wayne described his decision to try the bicycle kick as pure instinct, “I knew Nani was going to cross it so I was getting ready for an header, then it took a little deflection and come behind me, I never really had time to think and just tried the overhead and thankfully it went in the top corner”.
2. Michael Owen goal
Ranking 2nd in the list is Michael Owen’s goal in United’s 4-3 victory back in September 2009. The atmosphere was electric that day at Old Trafford and deep in to added time Michael popped up with a clinical finish in his first Manchester derby after coming on as a sub. The crowd went wild and the goal will be remembered for a long time. This goal ranks highly in Wayne’s derby moments due to the sheer entertainment of the game, “it was end to end for a lot of the game and when Craig Bellamy equalised in the 90th minute everyone thought that was it, so when Michael Owen scored in the last few seconds it was an unbelievable moment for both Michael and the team and it’s certainly a moment I will never forget”.
3. Carling Cup Semi-Final header
3rd in Wayne’s favourite derby moments is his late header in the Carling Cup semi-final 2nd leg at Old Trafford, the tie was set for extra time after United had overcame a 2-1 deficit from the 1st leg, but Wayne had other ideas, heading home Ryan Giggs’ cross in the 2nd minute of stoppage time to send United to Wembley. When asked what made this moment so special, Wayne replied: “To score the decisive goal late on in any game is a special feeling for any player, but to do it in a derby and to send your team into a final makes it even better”.
4. Paul Scholes’ header
A rare Paul Scholes headed goal and a third stoppage time winner against City in the same season (09/10) is Wayne’s 4th favourite derby moment. The reds had to win to keep their title challenge alive and Scholes drifted unmarked in to City’s area to meet Patrice Evra’s cross in the 92nd minute. The importance of this goal is why it ranks high up in Wayne’s favourite derby moments, he said: “Paul Scholes’s header was vital for us that season and kept us in the title race. At that stage of the season every game is massive, especially when you need to win, so for something like that to happen just when you think the game is coming to an end is incredible.”
5. RVP Free Kick
The final moment to make Wayne’s top 5 is Robin van Persie’s free kick in December 2012, again in stoppage time! It was Robin’s first trip to the Etihad in the red of United and he made sure it was one to remember, with his deflected effort scoring a 3-2 win which helped United to a 13th Premier League title. With Manchester City winning the league the season before, Wayne felt it was important United stayed ahead of their City rivals, “this was a massive game, they came to Old Trafford as the champions, so for Robin to score the winner late on and take us 6 points clear at the top of the table was very important”.
Copyright 2014 Stoneygate 48 Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.officialwaynerooney.com as the source.