Rooney strike sees off Blues
Wayne Rooney stepped out of Cristiano Ronaldo's enormous shadow to ensure Manchester United began the defence of their Premier League title with a 1-0 victory over Birmingham. Sir Alex Ferguson has repeatedly claimed this summer that United will prosper without the world's best player, sold to Real Madrid for a world record £80million, for that to happen, Rooney must become United's main man. And, after playing second fiddle for so long, and spending too much time on the wing for his liking, Rooney returned to centre stage in every sense, rising to meet Nani's cross, then tapping home when his 34th-minute header bounced back off a post. Birmingham's response was spirited and after Cameron Jerome's shot had flicked off Paul Scholes, Gregory Vignal thought he had equalised from the corner, only for Patrice Evra to nod his header off the line. It was a sporadic flurry of attacking play from the visitors, who were thankful not to be further behind at the break given Evra set up Darren Fletcher with a clear chance in stoppage time, only for the new Scotland skipper to steer his shot wide when it looked easier to score. Substitute Christian Benitez almost grabbed a point for Blues, but Ben Foster made a fine save and Michael Owen was denied by Joe Hart at the other end right at the death.