Football

Wayne Rooney: A natural replacement for Paul Scholes?

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Fans of Manchester United will probably not be able to breathe easily until they receive some sort of official confirmation from Wayne Rooney himself regarding his future with Manchester United.

David Moyes made it as clear as he could in his first ever press conference as manager of United that he is keen to keep Rooney at Old Trafford.

Moyes saw fit to distance himself from any discussions regarding the possibility of a transfer that Rooney may have had with previous manager Sir Alex Ferguson towards the end of last season, instead focusing on the promise the former Everton striker had been showing in training.

While Rooney has himself denied allegations that he had submitted a transfer request in May, several rumours surrounding the possibility of a move to the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, PSG and Real Madrid have been doing the rounds over the last few weeks.

A look at Rooney's performances over the last season suggest that he may have lost some match fitness after suffering a few injuries early in the campaign. It has been suggested that one of the reasons for which Rooney may not have been satisfied with his role in the squad was that he was increasingly being used as a squad player, being substituted late on in games, and not even being played in perhaps the most important game of the season, the home leg of the round of 16 Champions League tie against Real Madrid.

Another issue that Rooney may have had with Ferguson was that he was being played in a much deeper position in attack, and sometimes even in a three-man central midfield, with Robin van Persie preferred up front.

With Chelsea and Arsenal still rumoured to be interested in striking a deal with United and taking Rooney to London, Moyes will be keen to quash all disagreements between Rooney and the club. If push comes to shove, and Rooney does demand assurances of a striker's berth in Moyes' squad, the Scot could well agree, and rightly so, since losing a player of Rooney's calibre would be a huge blow to United's hopes of beginning a new era in their history on a positive note.

It is imperative that Moyes convinces Rooney to stay on at Manchester United, and it could prove more beneficial for all parties if the England striker abandon his hopes of securing a striker's role. 

Despite being just 27-years-old, Rooney is one of the most experienced members of the current United squad, as only Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand have spent more time at Old Trafford. As neither Giggs nor Ferdinand are getting any younger, United will soon need someone else from within the squad to lead the young crop of players like Rafael da Silva, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Tom Cleverley as they continue to mature over the next few years.

Manchester United have been linked with the likes of Thiago Alcantara, Kevin Strootman and Ezequiel Garay, and even though they look set to miss out on the midfield duo, it seems inevitable that they will bring in fresh faces this summer.

The fact that Moyes will bring in new players to rejuvenate the squad as he sees fit, and will probably sell some of the players currently on the roster, accompanied by the fact that he will be only thesecond manager of United in the Premier League means that the club is going through the largest period of instability it has experienced in 27 years.

Moyes has done the sensible thing in adding Phil Neville and Giggs to his backroom coaching staff, and should do his best to keep Rooney in the team, to maintain a sense of stability if anything.

All this talk of stability distracts us from the fact that, all said and done, Rooney is still a world-class footballer. Agreed, he has lost a couple of yards of pace, but has proved that he still has an eye for goal, even though he isn't the speedster he was at 18.

His technical ability and willingness to work ever so hard for his teammates make him too good a player to lose.

If Moyes' claims that Rooney is training like he never has before, and that he is in good physical shape - or was, before his hamstring injury - are to be believed, we could well see the Rooney of old come the start of the season. 

This author is of the opinion that despite Rooney's unwillingness to play in midfield, his best position on the pitch could well be that of a central attacking midfielder in a 4-5-1 set up. Over the years, Rooney has developed his ability to read the game and drop deep from attack to help his midfielders.

He has also widened his range of passing and is adept at switching the ball across flanks, possibly a result of having trained with Paul Scholes for so many years. Having a player of his versatility will be a boon for Moyes, as Rooney would give him the option of being tactically versatile with his starting XI, and switching between a defensive 4-5-1 and offensive 4-4-2 during games (Marouane Fellaini gave Moyes this option at Everton).

Rooney's work ethic and high technical ability mean that he would do well in midfield, as he has done when played there in the past, and as he approaches the age of 30 and loses even more natural pace, he could well find himself being more accustomed to a deeper role in central midfield, and could ideally become the man to take over from Paul Scholes in the centre of the park.

All said and done, there is still plenty that could happen in the coming weeks, as Rooney's future remains shrouded in doubt. Chelsea and Arsenal would undoubtedly love to add him to their squads, but United will probably do everything in their power to keep him at Old Trafford. Whether or not his demands for a striker's role will become a crucial factor in determining his future remains to be seen, although it won't be the worst thing in the world if he is played as a midfielder at Manchester United.

 

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Topics:
Manchester United
Wayne Rooney
Football

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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