English football’s biggest debate at the moment is whether Wayne Rooney is still an attacking threat or is he ready to transform in to a midfield player?
Rooney has had to deal with new managers at both club and international level and unfortunately for the Manchester United skipper both managers see his role in their teams differently.
While Jose Mourinho has time and time against stressed that Rooney will only operate in the number 10 role, Sam Allardyce on the other hand decided to play Rooney 100 yards away from goal in a more defensive role vs Slovakia last weekend.
I understand Allardyce’s decision as he has the luxury of picking younger and faster players like Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana, Dele Alli and Harry Kane further forward however, Rooney for all his passing ability is wasted if he gets all his touches closer to the half line.
Rooney may be 30-year-old and is getting slower by the day but seeing him stroll around the midfield does not paint a pretty picture given he is England’s record goal scorer and is expected to break Manchester United’s scoring record this season as well.
Jose Mourinho also has the luxury of picking Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata, Memphis Depay or Marcus Rashford in place of Rooney but Mourinho understands what Rooney brings to his team and is deciding to stick by his captain.
Rooney has started the season in a much better way than the last campaign where he has scored 1 and assisted 2 of Manchester United’s six league goals so far.
It was Rooney’s awareness and instinct of being in the dangerous areas which allowed him to set up Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s headed goal vs. Southampton and Marcus Rashford’s 94th minute winner vs. Hull City.
Rooney may do a job if asked to operate from midfield and will even deliver a 7/10 performance week-in-week-out but it is his goal threat which Man United and England must capitalize on going forward this season and in the near future.