Ryan Giggs unsurprised by Wayne Rooney form

Ryan Giggs is not in the least bit surprised at Wayne Rooney's return to form.

Any lingering doubts about whether Rooney was back to his best after a difficult year were surely dispelled by the 25-year-old's performance in Gelsenkirchen on Tuesday night.

Not only did Rooney scored the vital second goal in a two-goal triumph that means Manchester United are virtually certain to claim a place in the Champions League final at Wembley on May 28, he delivered a mature performance he has tended to look incapable of in years gone by.

He followed up by admitting he got it wrong - big style - with his much-publicised concerns about Sir Alex Ferguson's current squad, worries which triggered an ill-advised transfer request.

Now Rooney appears to be committed to United for the long haul, which is just as well.

As United's elder statesman, Giggs realises it won't be long before he must hand over the responsibility he has carried for so long to others.

And in Rooney, the veteran Welshman knows they have the right man for the big occasion.

"I am not surprised at what Wayne is doing," said Giggs.

"The top players perform when the trophies are about to be handed out. They produce moments of inspiration when it matters.

"Wayne has done that time and time again over the years, so it was hardly a shock he was superb against Schalke."

Now 37, Giggs can hardly have expected when he celebrated his 32nd birthday that before the end of his career he would win four more Premier League titles and have the chance to lift another three European Cups.

Not only that, his influence remains massive.

Although he might have been guilty of wasting a sizeable proportion of the huge number of chances United created in the Veltins-Arena, it was Giggs' calm finish that brought his side the opening goal in a dominant display.

Ferguson has already earmarked him for an important job in the second leg, meaning Giggs will not be risked from the start against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Nevertheless, it promises to be another titanic tussle, with another one to follow against Chelsea on May 8 as United look to wrap up a record 19th league title, of which Giggs would have played a part in 12.

"This is what you want," he said. "The idea is to be playing big game after big game at this stage of the season because it means you are amongst the big trophies and going for the league.

"In that sense, we have got it exactly right. There are no issues. We have the squad to cope.

"I am sure the manager will make changes on Sunday but I also know the players who come in will be in good form.

"Hopefully we can get as good as a result and put on as good a performance as we did against Schalke."

To most fans, Schalke have already been consigned to history, destined to go the same way as Chelsea, Marseille, Valencia and Rangers, who have all been summarily disposed of by United in the Champions League this season.

United losing at home by three goals is not exactly unheard of. Gary Lineker once managed it with Tottenham and Chelsea have managed it too.

However, combining one of those freak results together with a repeat of Schalke's 5-2 demolition of Inter Milan at the San Siro would seem to be an outrageous demand.

Giggs knows United cannot afford to think that way and is promising there will be no slackening at Old Trafford next Wednesday.

"Obviously we are massive favourites," he said.

"We have scored two away goals and we still have to play them at Old Trafford.

"But we have to be wary. Teams have underestimated Schalke before. We won't be doing that."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project