Five things we learned from Man Utd's FA Cup win

Mata scored United's leveller
Mata scored United's leveller

Manchester United won the FA Cup with 10 men as substitute Jesse Lingard smashed home an extra-time winner to beat Crystal Palace 2-1.

Palace had earlier taken the lead through Jason Puncheon but Juan Mata equalised three minutes later before Lingard had the final say after Chris Smalling had been sent off.

We look at five things we learned from an entertaining match at Wembley.

1. Rooney should play midfield for England

Much of the debate around Rooney's inclusion in England's starting line-up assumes he is vying for an attacking spot but the 30-year-old showed he can offer a strong alternative in midfield. He sat in alongside Michael Carrick and looked like he had played the position his whole career, spraying passes to feed United's front line and chasing back to help his defence. It was Rooney's driving run that led to Mata's equaliser too. If it is an experienced playmaker England want, Rooney may be the answer.

2. Palace come up short in both boxes

Palace are the latest of England's lesser lights to reach the FA Cup final, with Aston Villa, Hull, Wigan, Stoke and Portsmouth all making the tournament's climax over the last 10 years. They struggled in the league in the second half of the season and their shortcomings were again exposed here as they were too generous in spurning chances at one end and too sloppy in conceding them at the other. Alan Pardew can steer a talented squad up the league next season - but to do so he will need some quality reinforcements in the summer.

3. Clattenburg off colour

Mark Clattenburg will go to Euro 2016 this summer as one of England's top two referees but this was not one of his better days. Twice he failed to play Palace's advantage in the first half as Connor Wickham and then Joel Ward managed to break away after being fouled. In between, Rooney could count himself fortunate not to give away a penalty when he slid in on Wilfried Zaha but failed to make contact with the ball. Chris Smalling's second yellow card in extra time was correct but clear for all to see.

4. Smalling must do better at Euro 2016

England's hopes of success this summer could well depend on Smalling stepping up but the defender endured a day to forget at Wembley. He was outrun and outmuscled by Wickham early on and was fortunate Clattenburg failed to play advantage as Palace honed in on United's goal. Smalling was then guilty of a similar offence in extra-time, turned too easily by Yannick Bolasie and holding the forward back to earn a second yellow card. It was a performance to make Roy Hodgson sweat.

5. Opening ceremony a mistake

The FA Cup's status and relevance is in decline but the competition's showpiece event did little to endear itself to fans with a farcical pre-match ceremony. Rapper Tinie Tempah sang too much, then Karen Harding sang too little, forgetting to come in for the first half of the national anthem, and all amid a backdrop of smoke, fireworks and general razzmatazz we could have done without. Love for the FA Cup stems from its history and tradition. The FA should focus on that.