Wayne Rooney should not be starting games for Manchester United this season
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on September 16, 2016
No player divides the Manchester United fan base in the way Wayne Rooney does. You have those who remarkably believe he is still the best player at the club and should start every game for the club. While there are others who appreciate what he has done for the club over the years but can see he is way past his best and is a hindrance to Manchester United rather than an asset. For the first time in 3 years, Manchester United have several players who can come into the team for Wayne Rooney and probably contribute more than he does. Despite scoring 1 goal and getting 2 assists at the start of this season Rooney’s overall performances have been lackluster and frustrating as they have been since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. The major difference now is that Manchester United have the squad and the manager brave enough to drop Wayne Rooney.
In Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season in charge of Manchester United Wayne Rooney was dropped to the bench on several occasions due to poor performances, most notably against Real Madrid in the Champions League. Did Sir Alex see Rooney’s decline coming before the rest of us? You have to wonder if Rooney would have remained at Old Trafford had Ferguson not retired at the end of that season. Of course, after Ferguson, there was David Moyes and Louis van Gaal who seemed to view Rooney as this omnipotent player that couldn’t be dropped despite poor performances and the fact they both had other options. Although in van Gaal’s final season at Old Trafford the Dutchman purged the squad of all it’s strikers such as Robin van Persie and Chicharito so Wayne Rooney was the main man. How did Rooney respond to that? 15 goals in 42 appearances in all competitions playing as the main striker.
This season Manchester United have got the best squad they’ve had for 4 years in terms of quality and depth. Rooney has been playing behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the number 10 role with Jose Mourinho deploying a 4-2-3-1 formation. So far his performances have been very poor and he does not operate as a number 10 a lot of the time. He drops into midfield and always tries to play those Scholes-esque passes to switch the play but it’s very rare that they actually come off and have any effect. Notably, Rooney’s decision making has been very sloppy this season and has resulted in a lot of attacking moves breaking up in games this season. It could be argued that Rooney’s place in the team is hindering the performances of world record signing Paul Pogba. Pogba’s best performances come when he plays in a 3 man midfield as he did at Juventus where he predominantly operated on the left of the 3 man midfield. Playing in a 2 man midfield restricts Pogba far too much and takes so much away from his game and as we saw against Manchester City Pogba lacks the discipline to play in a 2 man midfield. Wayne Rooney’s inclusion in the team means there will be no 3 man midfield to get the best out of Pogba which is wrong. If you break the transfer record for a player you expect to build their team around him to get the best out of that player not keep an ageing player in the team just because of his reputation. Manchester United should play with a 3 man midfield and Wayne Rooney should make way to allow that to happen.
Of course, everyone appreciates what an incredible servant Wayne Rooney has been to Manchester United over the last decade. However, the harsh reality of the present day is that he is under performing and should not be a starter for Manchester United. With so many talented players available to Jose Mourinho, Wayne Rooney’s place in the team is no longer justified. Based on form and performances he should be on the bench and people shouldn’t keep shirking away from the fact that he is past his best. Players do not get into teams based on previous achievements, they get in teams based on current form and performances and Wayne Rooney has not performed to a high enough standard for a long time.