Captain Rooney leads way to victory in friendly

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Sir Alex Ferguson declared himself delighted by Wayne Rooney's goalscoring return to action at Macclesfield last night.

Exactly 30 days since Rooney's World Cup dream ended in red-card misery in the quarter-final defeat to Portugal, the 20-year-old had the honour of wearing the Red Devils' captain's armband for the first time and marked the occasion with an inspired goal to put the visitors on the road to a 2-1 win at Moss Rose.

With Ruud van Nistelrooy now at Real Madrid, Ferguson needs Rooney to score on a regular basis and the back-flick which found the bottom corner of the net suggested he is up to the task.

"Wayne produced some terrific moments," said Ferguson. "He has scored a goal as well, so I'm very happy for him."

Just hours after being reunited with Cristiano Ronaldo - the man many England supporters feel largely contributed to Rooney's dismissal in Gelsenkirchen - the former Everton player delighted a capacity crowd with his whole-hearted efforts.

Rooney's mere presence probably boosted gate receipts by £25,000, vital income for the cash-strapped League Two outfit.

And with Rio Ferdinand and Edwin van der Sar also making their first appearances of the pre-season campaign, United's big guns are starting to return.

"All three of those lads did well," said Ferguson. "It is their first match since the World Cup and they will improve."

Danny Swailes levelled for the hosts not long after Rooney's strike, but United were not to be denied and Frazier Campbell netted the winner 17 minutes from time.

The victory was marred by a serious-looking injury to young midfielder David Jones who was taken to the local hospital for an X-ray on what appeared to be a broken arm.