Wayne Rooney has been one of the best strikers England has produced in their history, as evidenced with his goal scoring ratio.
However, at the weekend when Manchester United visited the Britannia Stadium to face a physical Stoke team, Rooney was selected to play in midfield and aim to be the link between the back four and the attacking talent. His performance was one of the highest calibre leaving the question, is Rooney about to move back to midfield to enable him to have a bigger influence on the game?
Whilst playing as a centre midfielder against Stoke, Rooney made 81 passes more than any other player on the pitch, with a completion rate of 82%. The stats speak for themselves, showing he was a class act in midfield as well as enjoying the role, due to the fact he was able to get the ball more often.
He seemed to thrive on the responsibility of driving the team forward and being at the heart beat of all the United attacks.
In recent times he has come under some criticism by the media for dropping too deep to try and gain possession. This is of no fault of his own. His desire to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and try and lead his team to victory forces him towards the ball.
It therefore seems a logical move to move him into the centre of the park where he can influence the game and will not be criticised for his positioning on the pitch.
He has the energy to become a box-to-box midfielder and the talent to find the killer pass to set his team mates free. In addition to this, due to his accurate shooting he can still gain a lot of goals for his team by shooting from distance when he’s in an attacking position, such as goal scoring centre midfielders like Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard.
Finally, this new centre midfield role could potentially be Rooney’s position for next season, if the reports linking Manchester United with a move for Radamel Falcao are accurate.
It must be noted that Sir Alex Ferguson has dismissed the reports, but if we suppose United do buy a striker whether Falcao or someone like Robert Lewandowski, they can be accommodated into the team easily by moving Rooney back into midfield.
If this scenario materialises, it is a daunting prospect for their rivals to imagine Robin van Persie, Rooney and another world-class striker in the same team. Time will tell what Sir Alex Ferguson plans are for Rooney, but don’t be surprised if he is to become United’s new heart beat in midfield.
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