McClaren's psychological ploy worked a treat at Wembley on Saturday after he had described the United star as not yet 'world class'.
But the energy in his performance was something to behold and in scoring England's second, belting home Joe Cole's cross with a neat shot on the turn, Rooney was ending a goal drought in competitive combat that stretched back to Euro 2004.
And, while there was no public admission his jibe about Rooney's talent was specifically aimed at triggering the performance the Merseysider produced, McClaren did not really have to. His beaming smile said it all about a job very well done indeed.
"When players of this standard receive criticism, they have to prove themselves on the pitch," said the England coach.
"That is exactly what Wayne has done. Now he has to do is consistently.
"He admitted himself he had a point to prove and he has gone a long way to doing that.
"We all know Wayne is a threat and I repeat, he has the potential to be world class. I am delighted with his goal but his overall contribution to the team was very good. He got better and better as the game went on."