Over the last season a ghost has walked the hallowed turf of Old Trafford.
He was once the most expensive teenager in the history of the English game.
He has been called the gifted English player of his generation.
A genius in the purest sense of the world.
His name is Wayne Rooney.
His ghost like performances however have begged the question: has Wayne lost everything he promised and is he proving the heroics of last season were merely a fluke, no better than Amir Zaki or Frasncis Jeffers?
It begs the question- was that goal a reminder of his genius or just a blast from the past?
It isn't a secret that Rooney has been ravaged by injury for the last twelve months. Ever since that fateful night against Bayern Munich (the other fateful night against Bayern Munich...) he has struggled with his ankle and has not really been the same since.
That excuse could have been valid for the World Cup. But is it now?
6 months on, and Rooney still looks out of sorts. It is true that his work rate is still fantastic- his goalless part in United's 5-0 victory against Birmingham a month ago was arguably bigger that Dimitar Berbatov's, who scored a hat-trick. (Believe me, I was there.)
The hard fact is that Rooney is, a striker. Even my mother knows that a striker's job is to score goals and six goals in twenty-one appearences is simply not a good enough return, especially when two of those were penalties.
He has shown too little of the predatory, six yard box instrict we saw from the thirty-four goal superstar last year.
When he has relied on pure talent, when he hasn't had the time to overthink a situation, it has been business as usual. Case in point the goal vs. City, the header vs. West Brom and the two vs. Villa. All four goals were Rooney at his best-ruthless, instinctual.
But once again, those are the only four instances in the last year I have seen him be anywhere near as good as he really is.
Truthfully, I have shown more flashes of brilliance in the past twelve months.
I do honestly believe that Rooney will get it back together. I am one of those people who called him the most gifted English player of his generation because, quite simply, I think he is. How can't he be?
For the record, I also do not think that he really wanted to leave Old Trafford a few months ago and I do think his heart is still in it- I just think he needs to rely on what got him this far in the first place- talent.
With "Just enough education to perform", thinking is perhaps not Wayne's strong suit- if he started listening to his playground-honed instincts once again, we will see the man back for club, and country.