LONDON -- With David Beckham watching in the stands at West Ham, Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney replicated one of the retired star's most memorable goals on Saturday.
Setting United on its way to a 2-0 victory, Rooney sent the ball high from inside the halfway line over goalkeeper Adrian after just seven minutes.
"It's just instinct, I've turned and had a quick look and seen the goalkeeper off his line," Rooney said. "It's one of those I've tried many times and thankfully today it's gone in."
Just as it did on the opening day of the 1996-97 season for Beckham, who lobbed Wimbledon goalkeeper Neil Sullivan from the halfway line.
"Wayne's technical ability, his awareness to know where the goalkeeper was, was amazing in the build-up, and then to actually execute it was superb," United manager David Moyes said. "My only worry was whether the bounce would take it over the bar or not."
Moyes was actually more pleased with the second after the wonder goal. Rooney was primed in front of goal to slot in from close range in the 33rd after Mark Noble failed to fully clear Ashley Young's low cross.
"He was getting in the box and leading the line," Moyes said of Rooney.
Rooney's first double in almost four months moved him to third on United's all-time scoring chart, 38 behind Bobby Charlton's record 249.
The striker, who signed a new deal through June 2019 last month, thrived at Upton Park in the absence of Robin van Persie, who is beginning at least a month out with a left knee injury.
Moyes almost had to cope with a makeshift defence as United reeled off a third consecutive away win in the league without conceding, days after advancing to a Champions League quarterfinal with Bayern Munich by beating Olympiakos.
However rare this comfortable league win was for Moyes' seventh-place side, reaching the top four seems beyond this team, with Arsenal 11 points in front in fourth place.
"The win on Wednesday night against Olympiakos has given us all a big lift," Rooney said. "You could see today the confidence running through the team, so it's a good victory and we're really pleased with that."