Wayne Rooney's teammates believe that a $50,000 hair transplant is a reason the Manchester United star has return to top form.
Rooney, 25, underwent the procedure during the summer to address his premature balding and has since made an impressive start to the new English Premier League campaign, scoring the third goal in United's comfortable 3-0 home victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Monday.
Rooney had struggled for more than a year, with dismal displays during the World Cup and a slump at the beginning of last season. However, since his transplant he has been outstanding, turning in excellent performances on United's preseason tour of the United States and again in the opening two games of the EPL schedule.
And remarkable as it seems, the school of thought now emerging in the Old Trafford locker room is that the hair transplant might be partially responsible for Rooney's resurgence.
"At first the lads were teasing him about playing better and looking more lively now he has got a head of hair again," a club source told Yahoo! Sports. "But now it really does seem like there is a new confidence about him and a spring in his step. Frankly, everyone is pretty excited about it."
Rooney made no secret of the cosmetic surgery, even posting pictures of his scalp on Twitter following the procedure he dubbed "Hair We Go" on the social networking site.
United's win Monday was the club's second straight to begin the campaign and took it into second place in the table, trailing only local rival Manchester City on goal differential.
Impressive youngster Danny Welbeck scored the opening goal and set up the second for Anderson, but it was Rooney who provided the most memorable moment.
With three minutes to go, Rooney found himself free in the penalty area to deflect Ryan Giggs' perfect cross into the net with his head. In celebration, Rooney patted himself on his full head of hair while laughing and joking with teammates.
After a summer that saw United's title rivals Manchester City and Chelsea spend heavily – while the Red Devils appear to have missed out on primary target Wesley Sneijder – there were concerns that the team may struggle to keep pace.
However, those have been blown away by a strong start, thanks in part to the emergence of youngsters such as Welbeck and midfielder Tom Cleverley.
More than anything else, the return of the old Rooney could have the biggest impact of all as United seeks its fifth EPL title in six years.
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- Wayne Rooney
- Manchester United
- English Premier League