Author’s Note: Since the time of writing this post, Rooney has managed to get himself a hat-trick against Brugge in the Champion’s League. While an impressive response to his goalless spell, the points about him still stand and it remains to be seen whether this is a true return to form that can be replicated against tougher opposition.
By Alex McMahon
Rooney looks short of ideas in United’s attack
For many years, Wayne Rooney has been Manchester United’s talisman. The England captain is third on the all-time scoring charts at Old Trafford and has enjoyed plenty of success since joining from Everton in 2004. However, the United forward has struggled at the start of the new campaign, failing to score in any of United’s opening matches and looks extremely short of confidence.
Louis van Gaal’s men are yet to purchase a striker in the summer transfer window but they must invest astutely if they are to challenge for the Premier League title this season. Here are five of the main reasons why Rooney is no longer fit to lead United’s attack.
He has failed to score in any of United’s opening three fixtures
For just the second time in the last seven seasons, Rooney is yet to find the net after United’s first three Premier League matches. To be fair to Rooney, he has struggled due to their lack of creativity. However, the 29-year-old has missed a few glaring opportunities already this campaign and has often opted to pass rather than shoot, much to the dismay of the Old Trafford crowd.
Unfortunately, Rooney just doesn’t look like an out-and-out striker anymore and United will do well to find a suitable replacement before the transfer window slams shut…
Rooney lacks the pace and energy to lead the line on his own
Unfortunately for the Red Devils, United’s long-standing talisman isn’t the player that he used to be. Rooney is no longer the hungry, tenacious character that he was four of five years ago but that was always going to happen.
However, United now lack speed, energy and youthful enthusiasm up front – a huge problem. Louis van Gaal’s men are struggling to break opponents down and, with Rooney as their focal point of attack, they lack a quick striker who can run the channels and get behind the defence…
He is unable to fulfill his captain duties effectively from the front
Rooney looks under severe pressure and is beginning to look more and more out of his depth each time he steps on the football pitch. The United star, who netted 12 goals in 33 league appearances last season, is struggling to cope with the demands of captaining the side.
While stripping Rooney of the captaincy might lower his confidence in the short term, it could take added pressure off his shoulders and the 29-year-old could flourish once again. Chris Smalling – United’s third captain – has been in great form this campaign and would be an excellent choice to take over as skipper…
Rooney’s insistence on tracking back suggests he would rather play off the front
The United captain looks a frustrated figure at times, and who could blame him? While the 13-time Premier League champions are excellent at keeping possession, their build-up play is horrendously slow and Rooney has to drop deep in order to gain possession. While possession is important, it isn’t the be-all and end-all.
Also, Rooney’s insistence on tracking back affects United’s build-up play even more as they lack an attacking option once he tracks back. The likes of Juan Mata, Adnan Januzaj and Ashley Young are great creative footballers but they aren’t strikers. Van Gaal MUST invest…
Louis van Gaal should show that Rooney isn’t “undroppable”
Many United supporters have called for Rooney to be axed, and the Dutchman would do well to listen to the Old Trafford faithful. Van Gaal has a ruthless streak, there’s no doubt about that. However, he is also stubborn and rarely admits that he was wrong on a decision.
If possible, the United manager will continue with Rooney in the starting line-up, particularly as he rates his leadership qualities. However, IF – and it’s a big if – the Red Devils purchase a new striker, it is likely that Rooney will drop back and Januzaj may be the player who misses out…
Do you think that Louis van Gaal should drop Wayne Rooney? Will Manchester United invest in a new striker before the transfer window closes? Let us know your thoughts!