Could Wayne Rooney’s Injury Be Good For The Player And Manchester United?

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Could Wayne Rooney’s Injury Be Good For The Player And Manchester United?

It is an open secret that Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has not had the best of his days yet this season. In fact he appears clueless in the Manchester United set up.

The 30-year-old has come in for more criticism than ever before, with large sections of the United fan-base believing the skipper should be left out of the team.
Wayne Rooney has struggled for form this season (Picture: Getty Images)
Wayne Rooney has struggled for form this season (Picture: Getty Images)
One of the problems facing Rooney is that it is never certain how or where he fits into Louis van Gaal’s complex and constantly changing systems.

For years there has been the audible debate about whether Rooney is a centre-forward or an attacking midfielder.

It is interesting to note that, in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final year with the club, Shinji Kagawa was seen as the future number 10 white Robin van Persie was the first choice centre-forward.

Had the Scot remained in power it is unlikely Rooney would have stayed at the club.

Since Van Gaal arrived at Old Trafford, however, the Dutchman has done his best to accommodate Rooney in a whole host of positions be that as a number nine or 10, or even a deeper sitting midfielder.

Rooney has had mixed success in each role, although it can’t be argued that his work for the team was anything other than fantastic last year.
Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay could be better without Rooney (Picture: Getty Images)
Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay could be better without Rooney (Picture: Getty Images)
This season the positioning of Rooney has become more of an issue, however, with Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay both having to play out of their natural positions to accommodate the England captain, who has looked hopelessly out of sorts.

Blame for this cannot be totally attributed to Rooney as the level of service to United’s offensive line generally poor all season.

In Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Leicester City, Rooney picked up what looked a significant foot injury.

Whilst a spell on the sidelines will leave United woefully short in numbers, it could be argued that a short period away from the team could actually be beneficial to the club and the player.

Rooney has hardly had a break since Van Gaal took over as manager, with the former Netherlands’ boss’s policy of always playing his captain when possible seeing the forward pile up the minutes on the pitch.

Ferguson often claimed Rooney struggled to maintain fitness and his touch often suffered if he was overused.

We are seeing similar things this term, and a spell away from the team could allow Rooney to rejuvenate physically and return to the team sharper than he has been.

In the meantime it would open a space for Depay to return to the starting line up. The Depay and Martial partnership was impressive in the opening stages against PSV Eindhoven and, with United desperately needing an improvement in their attacking efficiency, the pacey pairing could cause teams problems over the festive season.

It may be time to recognise that Rooney can no longer be United’s most important player.

Instead the club have to start planning for the future, and giving Depay and Martial a chance to develop in their natural positions, with Rooney as a supporting player, could be what is best for Manchester United in the long-term.

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