Wayne Rooney
Rooney has contributed to 24 goals in 25 games this season.

If Ryan Giggs' continued brilliance, Manchester United's most convincing display under David Moyes and qualification for the last 16 were the headlines which emerged from the 5-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen in Germany, then Wayne Rooney's hand in four goals amid an accomplished display was a mere footnote in the Premier League champions' latest European success.

But after enduring an unsettled eight months at Old Trafford, you fancy the 27 year old would have liked it that way. Having fulfilled the role as the central narrative of the summer transfer window during which he made a sudden about-turn regarding his United career, Rooney could do with some time out of the public limelight.

Last season, as Robin van Persie's status as United's leading attacking protagonist grew, Rooney's further diminished. With the Dutchman having suffered an injury-affected start to the 2013/14 campaign, despite seven goals in 10 league games, Rooney has grabbed his opportunity to spearhead the start of a new era under Moyes with vigour. Absence has seemingly made the heart grow fonder.

Arguably, Rooney's hunger and aptitude is as great as at any time during his United tenure. A transformation from glittering forward to workhorse might be rued by much-famed coaches across English football, but after a summer where Rooney sought to detach himself from the club, his legwork must be interpreted as a method of winning over disenchanted supporters. And it's working.

In addition, having scored or assisted 24 goals in 25 games for club and country this season, Rooney is accompanying an unrivalled work ethic with his finest form for years. With the genuine test of United's title defence coming at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday - amid an 11 match unbeaten run - and a World Cup finals next summer, Rooney's form is coming at the perfect time for club and country.

Giggs' performance in Leverkusen might have been one for the cravers of nostalgia, but it also represented a concern that United still resort to the old guard when seeking moments of calm. In Rooney, before when the England striker possessed the capacity to implode and delight in equal measure, he now evokes serenity. Jordan Mutch's kicking aside.

With Manchester City's title push spearheaded by Sergio Aguero, with Arsenal lauding the efforts of Aaron Ramsey and Luis Suarez's showmanship inspiring Liverpool, United desperately need a world-class figure to inspire them in a title race which will be decided on small margins.

For Roy Hodgson's England, Rooney has failed to grace a big stage sufficiently since his inception in international football at Euro 2004. Yet, with little expected in Brazil, the pressure is very much off.

Rooney's recent club form suggests he is once again thriving on being centre of attention. England must hope that continues.