Manchester United started their Premier League in pretty emphatic fashion against Bournemouth. Jose Mourinho’s first league match as the boss of the Red Devils saw a comfortable victory and, most worryingly, saw Wayne Rooney etch his name onto the scoresheet as he nears countless records.
The former Everton star has been the figure of hatred for many a football fan this year – more than any other year. His poor performances for England did not help his cause and his start to the campaign with Manchester United has been largely uninspiring.
Now, with the addition of Paul Pogba, Manchester United face a conundrum of sorts. Rooney’s role in the side is up for debate and Jose Mourinho faces his first really tough decision as the new gaffer. He must find a way to keep all of the large egos in the United squad happy, without denting his own significant self-loving.
Rooney must be dropped, yeah? I guess that’s the general consensus? Well, here are FIVE reasons why…
When you don’t really know a players best role, it’s pretty damn hard to justify their selection in the side.
Rooney has been an eight, a ten and a nine over the last 12 months and none of them look particularly natural any more. He does not deserve a place as a central midfielder, an attacking midfielder, nor does he deserve to play as centre forward whilst Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford are fit.
It’s hard, but Rooney doesn’t really have a role in the side. When you are having to try and shoehorn him in, it’s probably a sign it’s not working.
Paul Pogba. The world’s most expensive footballer is not far away from his Manchester United debut and, as it stands, Wayne Rooney will be a member of the same eleven as Pogba.
Unless Rooney can play as the lone front man – which is questionable now – he is surely going to be a hindrance to Pogba. Pogba will need space and freedom to operate in midfield and, in many ways, needs to rule the manor.
Rooney might just prove to get in his way at times.
On his recent performances, Wayne Rooney would not get in to the side if he was not such a club legend.
Of course this is the case for many players, and often it makes sense to keep the player involved, but Rooney is being treated like an integral starter. His role at the club as a leader will not have to diminish, but his form is not deserving of a starting berth and that should sink in eventually.
The balance of any football team is more important than any individual; possibly with the exception of Lionel Messi.
If Manchester United are going to switch between 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3, it’s tricky to see how Rooney can fit in without compromising the balance of the side. The arrival of Paul Pogba means that at least one midfield berth is taken and, if sense prevails, that will be in a 4-3-3.
Could Rooney and Pogba play as the advanced pairing in a 4-3-3? No, probably not.
For a player of his calibre, Wayne Rooney has oddly relied on his energy more than most of his talent.
His ability to cover yardage has been just as important as his technical gift and, when his fitness declines as it is, this leaves an issue. Rooney is no longer the all-action star that many thought could contribute in a box-to-box capacity and, for that reason, he is no an integral part of a Mourinho side.
Ander Herrera could play a similar role from deep to Rooney and, although he lacks much of the attacking nous, Herrera would offer an engine in midfield.