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Thursday, 12 February 2015

Is Rooney wasted in midfield?

Rooney was once again deployed as a central midfield player last night as Manchester United saw off the challenge of relegation threatened Burnley by 3 goals to 1. The 29 year old was even forced to play in the deep lying midfield role due to an injury to Daley Blind. Rooney being the player he is can play almost anywhere and perform to a high level but does he deserve to be playing as an out and out striker when he is arguably the best striker at Manchester United?

Robin Van Persie is yet to find a fluid run of form scoring just 10 goals so far this Premier League season, a poor return by his standards while Falcao has been well below par scoring just 4 times in this Premier League campaign. Rooney who has been deployed in midfield so often this season has 8 league goals and regardless of him not scoring so far in 2015 is their most dangerous striker at this moment in time.

Louis Van Gaal has plans for Rooney to be the new Scholes so to speak but maybe it is too early to try and convert him to a midfielder when he still has so much to offer as a striker. In recent years his goal output has been dropping due to the arrival of Van Persie which led Rooney to play a deeper role in the set up, he even handed in a transfer request at the end of the 2012/13 season in defiance of his role. In 2012/13, Van Persie’s first season at Old Trafford, Rooney scored 12 league goals and the following season under David Moyes when he was given more of an opportunity to play up-front he scored a total of 17 goals a good return considering the wretched form of Manchester United under Moyes that season.

Van Gaal has clearly made his mind up that Rooney is a midfield player but is that a mistake?
With Rooney playing in midfield will we be deprived of seeing moments of magic like his overhead kick against Manchester City or his hat-trick against West Ham back in April 2011, Rooney had been considered the top striker in Europe at one time and maybe it's premature to drop him out of his favourite role.

The season prior to Van Persie’s arrival Wayne Rooney recorded a tally of 27 Premier League goals only to be outdone by the then Arsenal man Van Persie. Undoubtedly Rooney would have been irritated by the way Alex Ferguson shunted him from his favoured position for his Dutch team mate after having such a great  season.

With his fellow strikers struggling Rooney deserves to be given a chance up front again where he belongs, he is too good of a striker to be wasted playing in a position that he is adequate in but not a superstar. Having handed in a transfer request under Alex Ferguson when being played too deep for his liking the same could be on the cards under Van Gaal. Rooney is a striker and thats where he will want to play, unless United are willing to give them this role they may have to say goodbye to the Englishman and there will be no shortage of teams willing to take the former Everton man.