If ever United and the striker himself needed a repeat then it is now.
Whoever takes this odd Premier League by the scruff of the neck could have it won by the end of winter.
Rooney has the capacity to give United the much-needed edge that could blow all their title rivals out of the water.
That rampant 26-goal storm ended in Germany against Bayern Munich in March and since then neither Rooney nor United have been the same.
Whatever unity the 25-year-old destroyed with his ill-advised contract outburst there is no doubt that both the player and the team are unified now in that they both have a lot of convincing to do.
Rooney (below), looking slimline following his week in America, has to win back the hearts and minds of the Reds support.
He has to convince his one-time loyal fans that all that badge kissing wasn't a sham.
His reception was a three-way split on Saturday when he replaced Kiko Macheda after 56 minutes of the clash with Wigan at Old Trafford.
If it was done on purpose then it was a canny tactical double substitution by crafty boss Sir Alex Ferguson.
Instead of sending on Rooney as a lone sub to be the centre of attention he also sent on crowd favourite Paul Scholes.
It took the wind out of Rooney's critics' sails because they didn't know what to do.
In the end the striker's reception was mixed. There was a section who chanted his name again, a portion who booed him but the majority afforded him polite applause.
Had he converted a well-executed header that was tipped over the bar or connected properley instead of weakly prodding an even easier chance from close range into Ali Al Habsi's gloves then no doubt the roof would have lifted off the Stretford End.
So the Rooney episode is now a footnote in United's history and after a tentative return he needs to put a rocket under the Reds and a Premier League which is in danger of losing some its lustre.
A return of the old cavalier United would inject some desperately needed vibrancy into the English season.
United fans are rejoicing in being joint top of the league after fearing not so long ago that champions Chelsea would have opened up a chasm by now.
But there is a sense of pinch me' about the whole scenario. How can the Reds be joint top of the so-called greatest league on the planet yet be so lacking in their trademark vivacity?
How can they have constructed a 27-match unbeaten run in all competitions going back to last April when there has been a spark missing.
Against a Wigan side they whipped twice 5-0 last season once again it was a toil for the Reds.
Dimitar Berbatov paid for his nine-match drought since his hat-trick against Liverpool by being dropped and Macheda and Gabriel Obertan were rewarded for their inspiring substitute appearances at Aston Villa by starting.
But those final minutes at Villa Park could not be replicated. It was a dour first 45 minutes that Wigan could well have pinched.
Instead it was Patrice Evra who took advantage of some sloppy defending to head home a Ji-sung Park cross right on the stroke of half-time.
The last time the French full-back scored was in April 2007 in the memorable 7-1 trouncing of Roma in the Champions League. Oh how Old Trafford pines for heady matches like that.
When Antolin Alcaraz and Hugo Rodallega's rash challenges reduced Wigan to nine-men it should have been the cue for the Reds to match that Italian Job.
But Latics put up a roadblock and worryingly United missed chance after chance to reduce Chelsea's superior goal difference significantly.
Rooney of a year ago would have made mincemeat of Wigan's stubborn damage limitation exercise.
United had to be content with another goalscorer's finish from Chicharito in the 76th minute. Give the Mexican a chance and he'll plunder a goal. The substitute's diving header from Rafael's cross added to his portfolio of conversions.
It was a reflection on the match that the biggest cheers of the afternoon were reserved for the news that Chelsea and Arsenal had been beaten.
Now United must become a super-charged force again if they are to take full advantage of the Londoners' pain.
Source: Manchester Evening News