There’s been a lot of discussion over Manchester United star Wayne Rooney this season, and Graeme Souness has given his take on the matter.
The England captain has been left out of the starting line-up for United’s last two games, with Jose Mourinho’s men picking up two wins, including an impressive 4-1 victory over Leicester City at Old Trafford last weekend.
With Rooney usually deployed in the No.10 role behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and being pushed out wide at times too, talk of a possible midfield role has been put to bed by Mourinho who hasn’t shown any sign of playing the 30-year-old that deep in his team.
However, Souness, a regular fixture on the Sky Sports punditry team, isn’t so sure where Rooney fits into United’s team anymore if not in midfield, as although he doesn’t doubt his quality, he believes that Mourinho has other players at his disposal that fit each role better than the England international.
“I thought that Rooney would slip seamlessly into midfield, that he would drop in there and find it all a breeze, but he’s been doing it for a year now and has found it really difficult,” he told The Times.
“It has not worked for him at all. I thought because of his attitude to the game and his ability, it would have, but it hasn’t. If you don’t get it after a year at 30, then you are never going to get it.
“Out wide is maybe the only place that Rooney is going to get into Mourinho’s team now, but he wants pace there and he gets that from Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.”
Rooney has made nine appearances in all competitions so far this season, scoring just once and creating four goals in his time on the pitch.
With Ibrahimovic a certain starter up front based on what we’ve seen so far this season, and with Paul Pogba likely to continue to be partnered by Marouane Fellaini or Ander Herrera, that leaves three positions open for Rooney to fight for.
However, as noted by Souness above, the likes of Rashford and Martial offer more pace and attacking threat on the wings, while Rooney is still left with a battle with Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan amongst others for a position through the middle.
In turn, it’s difficult to predict whether or not he’ll get back into the starting line-up any time soon, but Mourinho will have a decision to make when his side face Stoke City at Old Trafford on Sunday.