Wayne Rooney has long been heralded as one of the greats in modern football, both Manchester United's and England's saviour - but is that still the case?
It must be made clear that this article is not disputing his ability seeing as he finished the season with 17 goals and 10 assists which is a very respectable tally to hold. This article will focus more on how he works within a team and more specifically his position that he plays for club and country.
Rooney for United
Firstly let's look at his club football - Manchester United. While this season he has arguably been United's star man, he has not faced the same competition for that title compared to previous years.
The issue lies with the preferred 4-2-3-1 formation that is commonly used in the English game nowadays - does he play as an attacking midfielder or as the lone striker.
As the attacking midfielder it allows players such as Kagawa, Januzaj, Mata, Van Persie and Welbeck to revolve around him as he picks the passes and finds the runs and more generally pick up the ball from deep. However the issue with this position is that Mata cannot play his natural no. 10 position for which he was purchased for a record £37.1 million last January to play.
By playing Mata on the left or right of the three attacking midfielders not only is it a waste of great talent, it means that the team would lose width as he would be looking for runs through the middle of the defence rather than looking to stretch the play.
Which asks the question that in order to be most effective who should be played - Rooney or Mata?
Rooney can also be played as the lone striker which allows his incredible finishing attributes to flourish. This allows Mata to play the no. 10 position and the rest of the attack to function best. However, this means that Van Persie does not have a place in the starting XI.
But is Rooney capable of playing the lone striker well? This role entails holding the ball up, which with Rooney's strength he is capable of, but it also involves making darting runs through the defence and, arguably, being good in the air.
These are attributes that Van Persie is known to be successful because of and is known to be one of the world's best strikers and so can he be left out of the team? So who should be chosen to play this position - Rooney or Van Persie?
Rooney for England
Next let's look at Rooney in terms of playing for England.
Rooney has been tried as both a striker and as an attacking midfielder in recent times but has looked out of place in both positions.
Against Peru he was meant to be played as an attacking midfielders but he seemed to be either playing as a striker or a central midfielder rather than being between the opposition's lines, which is where he is needed. He seemed to be lost, not knowing really where to be and although his passion and work rate could not be questioned it isn't enough to be a part of the starting XI.
With players such as Sterling, Barkley and Lallana all playing that position for their clubs surely those options would be more successful for England. As seen many times in recent matches for England Rooney tends to slow down play by playing the ball backwards rather than attempting to find other attacking players to keep the move going - something the other players do look to do.
However as a striker he also slows the ball down and did not work well with Sturridge, who seems to be England's number one striker now. The partnership found between Sturridge, Suarez and Sterling at Liverpool were not seen at all as Rooney would not make the forward runs that Sturridge and Sterling as used to and work so well with.
Although Welbeck does not possess the same standard of technical attributes as Rooney, he would be more effective working with Sturridge due to the movement he brings to the team. Therefore Rooney does not seem to fit into the England team as there are so many more successful suitors for the England team that should be considered before him.
Therefore the question must be asked - is Rooney now a burden for club and country?
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