How It Would Have Happened is a satirical and comical look at how the fixtures we would have played could have played out. We need to write something, and this seemed like a reasonably good idea. Though if it’s not, expect even the fake match reports to dry up...
Reading Football Club made the journey up the road to visit Wayne Rooney’s Derby County™ on Tuesday night and made a good go of it, but succumbed to a simply wonderful Wayne Rooney masterclass, as the record England goalscorer showed the league why he’s too good for the league - but not the money on offer.
Reading lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1 shape, with George Puscas leading the line and Ayub Timbe Masika making his first start for The Royals after Yakou Meite picked up a slight injury in the warm-up. After the recent woes off the pitch for, well, pretty much everyone, it was a welcome boost to the mood to see the rapid winger make a start for the club. You could hear the roar of support of the speedster from Kenya in the Madejski, such was the level of support for the African.
Reading started the game by pushing up high on The Rams, getting in their face and trying to pile on the pressure.
It didn’t work.
Wayne Rooney picked the ball up inside his own half, looked up, and played a frankly disgusting long pass over the top and into the path of Knight, who stepped inside Yiadom and unleashed a rasping shot into the far corner.
Reading were undeterred, and tried defiantly to get back into the game by letting Ejaria do his thing — y’know, dribble — and Swift pull the strings.
It didn’t work.
With half an hour gone, Wayne Rooney lashed a goal home from 35 yards, smashing home into the top corner. He then went and did his boxing corner flag celebration, which at the time made no sense. After the game, he clarified, saying, “It’s nice that we’re back out playing football. We’ve shown, as a country, that we can knock stupid viruses out with resilience, hard work, and, uh, other stuff.”
Nothing much happened for the remainder of the first half, with The Royals looking around at each other, almost asking themselves what the point was when Rooney 52 was on the pitch.
Bowen clearly fired his men up to get back out there and show Wayne Rooney’s Derby County™ the real them.
Puscas was fed the ball by Swift, took a touch and smashed the ball hard and low past Hamer in the Derby goal. The rifleman did his trademark celebration, before going off to hug his best pal Pele. Truly a wonderful moment. Again.
2-1 was the score, as the clock ticked over into the 80th minute. Morrison gave away a free kick in a good position, and The Man Himself Wayne Rooney stepped up to take it. Standing broad (as he always does), he stepped up and smashed the ball.
Into the wall.
He didn’t take it so well and started swearing at the referee, saying the wall had crept too close and that he should be due a red card. By lip reading the incident, it looked as though he said “don’t you know who I am?”
Rooney got sent off, the game restarted, and Reading pushed for an equaliser. The equaliser came in the final few minutes of the game, as Ejaria skipped past three men, fed the ball to Swift, who poked the ball through a hole in the defence with Masika running clear and dinking the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper.
A corner of the iPro Stadium erupted. The whole of Kenya did so at the same time, as a country united in its backing of the winger cheered and celebrated his first goal for The Royals.
2-2 at full time, then, as Reading return from the quarantine with a point.
Wayne Rooney is the record goalscorer for England for a reason. He’s good. And he likes kicking the ball really hard.
Kenya is loud - really loud - when one of their own scores a goal.
Masika is incredibly quick and has captured my heart already.