Phelan reveals World Cup impact on Rooney
Rooney ended the longest barren streak of his career yesterday when he drove home the penalty that put United on their way to a 3-0 win over West Ham United at Old Trafford.
It was the first time he had found the net since 30 March, 13 matches previously, a run that started with an ankle injury that many felt affected his performances in the four games for England as they crashed out at the first knock-out phase in South Africa.
Rooney is now preparing to link up with the Three Lions once more ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 double-header against Bulgaria and Switzerland. But Phelan feels United are releasing him in far better shape than when they first saw him in the summer.
"Wayne came back to us a little bit dishevelled from his England exploits," Phelan told BBC Radio. "But as long as you keep your head up and keep persevering, things like this will happen.
"Strikers can't score every week, much as they would like to. Hopefully now he can relax, enjoy his football and carry on from where he left off."
Fabio Capello recently claimed it took Rooney 600 minutes to reach his optimum at the start of every season. The 24-year-old has still only reached half that tally and Phelan accepts there is still a bit of work to do before Rooney is back to his best.
"He is not 100% fit yet," he confirmed. "He is still short on certain aspects of his game but that will come. Now he has got a couple of games with his national team and that will possibly help him."
Rooney will return to an intense week of combat that starts with a trip to his old team Everton, and includes a European meeting with Rangers before concluding with an eagerly-awaited duel against old rivals Liverpool.